[…] A few years back, a social worker friend gave the Rude Pundit a simple moral question that seems so obvious once it’s said, but it hangs over the Rude Pundit constantly. He was looking for absolution for some betrayal of trust he wanted to commit. The friend said, “You have to ask yourself, ‘At the end of the day, what kind of person do I want to be?'” The Rude Pundit decided he wasn’t that kind of person. No, he ain’t a saint, but he ain’t outright cruel.
The Rude Pundit has not been one of the loud drum beaters for impeachment out here in Left Blogsylvania because of the practicality of achieving it. But he has to say that the longer these depraved motherfuckers get to go unpunished, the more obvious it is that the Congress and, indeed, the citizens of this fallen nation have decided what kind of people they are. […]
“You have to ask yourself, ‘At the end of the day, what kind of person do I want to be?'” Indeed, it does seem that the citizens of this fine nation have made that decision.
[…] When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.
Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard. […]