All “torture” all the time at Conventional Folly

My understanding of torture is that it’s so terrible that following an order to carry it out is unconscionable and punishable by law. Yet we seem to have reached a point where there is some agreement that the CIA agents who carried out the waterboardings and other “torturous” interrogation techniques shouldn’t be prosecuted. No, only Bybee, Cheney, Bush, Yoo, and the rest should be held accountable. Isn’t there a tension there?

My understanding of torture is that it’s so terrible the average person inherently finds it objectionable. Yet we seem to have reached a point where the majority of people have no real problem with it. I have a feeling those numbers would be slightly different if we were dealing with actual torture instead of pretend drownings and face slaps of those who planned and plotted the murder of 3,000 Americans.

My understanding of torture is that it’s so terrible that the educated classes would shudder from its implementation, even to keep Americans safe. Yet there seems to be little doubt that significant portions of Congress and its leadership knew about the programs used to garner actionable intelligence from known terrorists. Perhaps that’s because, well, what was done wasn’t really that bad? And if it wasn’t really bad, well … maybe it’s not torture?

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