PHASE FOUR….A few days ago, while noting that mainstream conservative reaction to Abu Ghraib had already morphed through three phases as war supporters began circling the wagons, I suggested that before long someone would suggest not just that the torture stories were overblown, but that it was actually OK under the circumstances. Today, Barbara Amiel in the Telegraph takes a step in that direction:

In this contest against such an enemy is it possible to employ investigative methods to get vital intelligence that are no stronger than those police departments use for ordinary crimes? I don’t know the answer but it seems to me an issue that can’t totally be dismissed by reference to the need to uphold the values for which we are fighting….

Just in case her circumlocutions aren’t quite clear, she’s saying that methods “stronger than those police departments use for ordinary crimes” ? i.e., abuse, humiliation, and torture ? are quite posssibly justified in Iraq given the value of the “vital intelligence” that it shakes loose. And spare her any arguments about how reforming the Middle East is impossible if we ourselves don’t uphold the values we preach to others.

How far will this argument be pushed in the days to come? Stay tuned.

(Thanks to Crooked Timber for the link.)

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!