On FISA, Bush is simply ratcheting things up:
Q: "On FISA -- I understand your position, but what I'm unclear about is whether you're doing something to break the deadlock? Do you see yourself engaging with the other side, compromising? Or where do we go from here?"The program is critical to keeping us safe, but he will let it lapse rather than expose the Telecoms. You tell me, who is he protecting? It sure as hell isn't me.
Bush: "How do you compromise on something like granting liability for a telecommunications company? You can't. If we do not give liability protection to those who are helping us, they won't help us. And if they don't help us, there will be no program. And if there's no program, America is more vulnerable.
And this continual reminder that we are a torture nation:
Dahlia Lithwick, writing in Slate, laments the desensitizing of the American people to government-sanctioned abuse of detainees -- but sees a possible antidote.
"Last week, a team of faculty and students from Seton Hall Law School -- the folks who've worked tirelessly for years to document the government's best evidence against the Guantanamo prisoners -- released a new report suggesting that the government has recorded all of the interrogations at Guantanamo. Using documents prepared by the government and obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the team established that all of the 24,000 interrogations conducted at the camp since 2002 were taped. This jibes with reports from the detainees themselves, who came forward to dispute CIA Director Michael Hayden's claim last winter that the videotaping had been halted in 2002. . . .
"According to the Seton Hall report, many of these interrogations were clearly abusive. One government document reports that tapes would reflect detainee treatment so violent as to 'shake the camera in the interrogation room' and 'cause severe internal injury.' Another report depicts an interrogator 'positioning herself between a detainee and the camera in order to block her actions from view.'
"It's not clear anymore that the Bush administration has a uniform definition of torture. The new view seems to be that torture is what the president says it is, at the moment he must decide whether to torture. But if Americans could see the tapes of water-boarding and abusive interrogations while they still have the ability to be horrified, they may feel differently. The Seton Hall report quotes a former senior CIA official saying: '[I]t's a qualitatively different thing--seeing it versus reading about it.' That qualitative difference seems to have a brief shelf life. . . .
"If there really are thousands of hours of videotaped interrogations at Guantanamo, we should be clamoring to see them now, while they might still be able to horrify us. John Yoo and Steven Bradbury think that an interrogation method is torture only if it produces irrevocable damage. But long after the torture tapes are forgotten, what may be irrevocably damaged is our capacity for outrage."