Glenn Reynolds, 2005:
I’ve been against torture since Alan Dershowitz was pushing it back in the fall of 2001. (Okay, actually I was against torture even before Dershowitz was pushing it). But I think the effort to turn this into an anti-Bush political issue is a serious mistake, and the most likely outcome will be, in essence, the ratification of torture (with today’s hype becoming tomorrow’s reality) and a political defeat for the Democrats.
Tyler Cowen, today:
At many blogs (Sullivan, Yglesias, DeLong, among others) you will find ongoing arguments for prosecuting the torturers who ran our government for a while. I am in agreement with the moral stance of these critics but I don’t agree with their practical conclusions. I believe that a full investigation would lead the U.S. public to, ultimately, side with torture, side with the torturers, and side against the prosecutors.
A couple of things:
1. Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people you have; not of, by and for the people you wish you had. If the American people want to openly ratify torture, in violation of centuries of Western tradition, then that is what we will do, openly. We have already indirectly ratified it at least once (2004) based on fragmentary, heavily-redacted evidence, and – not to put to fine a point on it – the torture already happened. There’s nothing we can lose which we haven’t lost already.
2. I don’t think that’s what would happen at all. I don’t think so – and neither, apparently, did the torturers, which is why they did it in secret, and why they lied about it for so long, why they still can’t bring themselves to call it what it is, and why they still refuse to whip out the awesome secret evidence they have right here in their back pocket that will totally bust everybody. Now, I’m not a credentialled horseshitologist or anything like that, but I have been exposed to a fair amount of horseshit in my day, and, in my experience, horseshit generally smells a lot like this horseshit right here. Let the sunshine in.