People and societies don't just wake up one morning to find they no longer recognize themselves. It's a process. And we are in the process in this country of "defining deviancy down" in ways I never thought possible. We are legitimizing torture and indefinite detention --- saying that we will only do this to the people who really deserve it. One cannot help but wonder what "really deserves it" will mean in the years to come as we fight our endless war against terror.People have asked since WW II how it was possible for the richest, most intellectually advanced nation in Europe to descend into the horrors of the Nazi era.
As Digby says, it was a process. A process which the Bush administration, horribly frightened by the unanticipated (by them) shock of 9-11, has led America into. Their shock, horror and unthinking fear has now taken America well on the way towards the lowest of realms of human moral degradation.
Billmon provides even more clarity on what this discussion of torture means for America.
Until now, we could blame Abu Ghraib and the various reports of torture around the world on a few crazy individuals. The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld have tried or courts-martialed a few low-level military people for it, but the wide-spread nature has made it clear that it was either established policy approved by Rumsfeld from the Pentagon, or it was a complete failure of the chain of command. If it were the latter, however, the Secretary of Defense and the Pentagon would have taken action to create the chain of command as an effective preventative.
They haven't done that. That makes it absolutely clear that torture is the established policy of the Pentagon.
Now we know how much higher it goes. Bush is defending the policy himself. Torture is the policy of the Bush administration.
McCain and his faction of the Senate objected, but collapsed on Thursday. Torture is now the accepted policy of the Federal government including Congress. The Republican Party is the party of torture.
Everyone who votes for a Republican this November is complicit in the decision to use torture as an instrument of state policy in America.