pic via Reuters
It's a bad day to be literate.
The Bush Administration's "torture memos" are pretty much what everybody knew they were - kid-glove descriptions of intense physical violence followed by despicable rationalizations of same, all delivered in that horrible "I'm sorry, Dave" tone endemic to documents written by people who tell their subordinates to shoot each other for a living.
As usual, somebody always thinks that you can excuse the brutal mistreatment of brown people, so Obama's head of intelligence has gone off-message to tell everybody that "high-value information" was extracted from the prisoners by hitting them and half-drowning them (this has been parrotted by walking arguments for atheism Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and the rest of the Insane Clown Presidency). The extreme unlikelihood of this outcome, given that the CIA was desperately trying to force its prisoners to admit that Saddam Hussein had helped Osama bin Laden attack the World Trade Center, has blinded lefty commentators to the sanest response to this assertion: who gives a rat's ass?
If we have to hold nine innocent people underwater so that the tenth tells us his friend Omar was about to drive a car bomb into the Pentagon, what exactly are we protecting? Freedom? Dignity? The equal creation of all men, to coin a phrase? You can't piss on those things and uphold them at the same time.
The problem with arguing with against Republican spin is that you have to say "NO!" immediately or suddenly you're out to liberate Iraq, not to hunt down a murderer who killed a bunch of innocent New Yorkers. That makes the "no it didn't, Karl" reaction understandable, but it does ignore the real issue: torturing people = wrong. Any people. Waterboarding somebody 183 times is wrong, no matter what he did, and did we really get better information the 183rd time than we did the 182nd? Or are the people doing the interrogating happy in their work?
Articles from the Times and the Journal linked. Read 'em and weep, and I mean that.