The Corner

One-trick Nag

One of the weirdest things about the serially unhinged Andrew Sullivan (who has gone from wanting to include nuking Baghdad as a possible response to Saddam to spreading rumors that Gov. Sarah Palin’s last child was not her own) is that he reduces all argument to the charge that one advocates torture. I had the unfortunate experience once of being on a platform with him where he leveled that false charge at me, despite that the fact I had opposed water-boarding and similar practices and had written to that effect in columns. He has no rebuttal to the point that I made that on matters of the Patriot Act (cf. Obama’s statements when he ran for Senate), FISA, and renditions, that Obama has shifted positions from those that he once held when running for offices. Thus he is reduced, yes, to the same old, same old slur that one therefore supports torture:

More to the point: the far right needs to get its stories straight. If they want to argue – as they surely will – that the first Islamist terror attack under Obama will be due to his abandonment of torture, then they cannot simultaneously argue that he hasn’t changed Bush’s interrogation, rendition and detention policies. I know logic isn’t exactly their strong suit, but one might as well remind them it exists.

In the corner post to which Sullivan refers, of course, I never mentioned Obama and the use of torture (unless he believes “interrogation techniques” of any sort in his mind mean “torture”). Instead, I pointed out that on matters of national security it is not principled to trash the Patriot Act or FISA while in a campaign mode only later to accept them and other measures passed during the last eight years.


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