Greenwald responded and it is worth the read (and sitting through an ad to get to Salon):
It is easy sometimes to lose sight of how extreme a period this is in America's history, how profoundly our national character has been degraded and how fundamentally our country's core has changed over the last six years. If you haven't already read Andrew Sullivan's superb and dispassionate analysis of the Gestapo's "Verschärfte Vernehmung" manual (German for "enhanced interrogation"), I encourage you to do so.The degradation of our national character is deep and troubling. The Vice President dismisses Constitutional protections as some kind of nicety. Tom Tancredo worships Jack Bauer's torture techniques, and the President, while saying we don't torture, does. The neo-cons even chide liberals like us for having some kind of agenda against America when we ask about torture.
That post has prompted all of the predictable cliches in reply -- he's being hysterical, violating Godwin's Law, comparing Bush to Hitler, etc. etc. -- but Sullivan actually does very little in that post other than matter-of-factly highlight the glaring similarities between the Gestapo guidelines regulating its use of techniques such as hypothermia and waterboarding (for which some Gestapo defendants were convicted and sentenced to death at a 1948 war crimes trial) and our own. As Sullivan documents, virtually every Yoo-ian torture defense offered today is identical to the ones advanced by those German war crime defendants in an unsuccessful attempt to defend their use of 'enhanced interrogation' techniques.
Greenwald nails it, however.
The reason that it is news that the U.S. tortures, but not news that Al Qaeda does, is because Al Qaeda is a barbaric and savage terrorist group which operates with no limits, whereas the U.S. is supposed to be something different than that. Isn't it amazing that one even needs to point that out?The President and VP and the rest of the neocons have turned us into our enemies (historical and present) in order to defeat our enemies.
But neoconservatives and other Bush followers do not recognize that distinction and do not believe in it. They see an equivalency between the U.S. and Al Qaeda -- since they do it, we are justified in doing it. And thus, based on that equivalency, they demand that the media treat stories of torture from the U.S. and Al Qaeda exactly the same, as though they are equally newsworthy.
And with that twisted equivalency bolted into place, they have dragged our country on a path where that premise is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our own interrogation methods are reverse-engineered from the most brutal and barbaric countries and groups on the planet. And the policies and practices we have adopted over the last six years embody everything which this country, for decades, vocally deplored. But all of that happened because of this "belief" -- which is really just a self-justifying rationalization -- that we not only have the right to be, but that we must be, exactly like Al Qaeda, do what they do, in order to defeat them.
We keep saying, it isn't about them, it is about who we are. Or it used to be.