The Torture Debate: the Bush Memos, the Abuse Photos—and a Truth Commission?

Bloggers on Obama, Bush, torture timelines, and abuse photos.

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The Week in Review

The torture controversy continues to twist and turn, hogging a considerable amount of blogospheric attention. First up: timelines. This liberal blogger gives a timeline of what we know about U.S. interrogation methods from the Bush administration until now. He explains the necessity: "So much information about the Bush administration's torture policies and rationales has surfaced in recent days that, contrary to the secrecy meme of those days, we are now in danger of suffering from TMI—too much information." Foreign Policy's timeline looks slightly more professional. And Annie Lowrey blogs about it here: " So, most of the foundational reporting on torture happened in late 2003, 2004, and 2005—by reporters like Dana Priest of the Washington Post and Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, describing extraordinary rendition and the black site prisons."

The Next Shoe: Photos

Get ready for more. The Obama administration is preparing to release photos of interrogations. The photos come at the prodding of the ACLU, which sought the release under the Freedom of Information Act (read the ACLU press release here). Conservative Ed Morrissey gets furious, then historical, and then furious again: "Small wonder the intelligence community has erupted in anger over this." Johanna Neuman gives her take (and a nice summary of the debate too): "This is not the road that President Obama wanted to go down." Conservative Cliff May sees this as more ammunition for America's enemies: "Pointing a weapon at a prisoner is torture?" And in this post liberal Sam Stein gives Sen. John Kerry's take on the photos.

And the Arguments on Torture

...Rage on. Liberal Chris Smith thinks Obama was right to release the memos. Conservative Cliff May doesn't like being labeled pro-torture, as he has been, for believing that morally-grey interrogation techniques shouldn't be totally abandoned. He quotes terrorist Abu Zubaydah from the released CIA memos to prove his point: "Brothers who are captured and interrogated are permitted by Allah to provide information when they believe they have reached the limit of their ability to withhold it in the face of psychological and physical hardships." Blake Hounshell writes that U.S. torture policies under Bush hurt our intelligence gathering capabilities more than we think. Insider accounts of the Bush interrogation policies make Andrew Sullivan queasy. Bloggers are also debating what the policymakers should do next. Liberal David Waldman examines the whole truth commission idea. Steve Benen's all for it. So is liberal Bob Burnett: "We need to put the Bush era behind us and move on. The way to do this is by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush's torture policy." Moe Lane disagrees. And Marc Ambinder reads Obama's mind.


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