Wednesday, January 05, 2005

No fan on Bush ever since Bush voiced his support for the FMA, Sullivan continues his assault on all things Bush by citing Shalikashvili's condemnation of Gonzales' nomination as AG, without mentioning that Shalikashvili himself is no fan of Bush, having endorsed Kerry last fall. In fact, ALL of the other signers of the letter that are identified in the article supported Kerry. So, tell me Andrew, what's the big deal when a Democrat comes out against a Bush nominee?

As for Sullivan's call for public debate on using torture, I am all for it. I am on the record supporting the use of torture as a means of protecting this country. I know many others are not, including some like the good professor with whom I usually agree with on other matters.

In the end, what will determine the outcome of the debate, and likely whether Gonzalez is confirmed as AG, is whether the public backs the use of torture. And, as so many times on other matters, how public opinion will shake out will be determined by the images and the arguments that are advanced during the debate. If the Administration gets its act together, it will lay out a non-legalistic (a/k/a simple to understand) argument for why using torture is in our self interest and why those who oppose its use are misinformed and/or misguided. The administration needs to toot its own horn (something I think it doesn't do nearly enough, especially in the area of national security). It needs to provide some insight into the information that was obtained through the use of these programs - and the actions we were able to take as a result - to demonstrate to the American people that we have received a tangible benefit from these programs. The Administration needs to ask the American people to make a choice: are we better off having gotten this information, even if it was obtained through a somewhat uncivilized means, or are we prepared to suffer the consequences of not having to hold our noses while someone else does the dirty work necessary to defeat our enemies?

If, on the other hand, the opposition (the Democrats, their friends in the media, and squishy conservatives) gets to frame the debate, expect to see lots on the Abu Ghraib mess, expect to see lots of legal arguments about whether our enemies do or do not fall under the protection of the Geneva Convention, expect to see lots of handwringing over the extent to which our relations with other countries have been harmed. Expect to see the public go negative.