Try reconciling what we know for a fact about what the administration has done and the words uttered by the vice-president yesterday:

I was in Washington in the 1970s, at a time when there was great and legitimate concern about civil liberties and about potential abuses within the executive branch. I had the honor of serving as White House Chief of Staff to President Ford, and that experience shapes my own outlook to this very day.

Serving immediately after a period of turmoil, all of us in the Ford administration worked hard to restore people’s confidence in the government. We were adamant about following the law and protecting civil liberties of all Americans, and we did so. Three decades later, I work for a President who shares those same values. He has made clear from the outset, both publicly and privately, that our duty to uphold the law of the land admits no exceptions in wartime. The President himself put it best: He said, “We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.”

So why violate our principles by authorizing torture of detainees? Why retain the right to torture them even after a law has been passed to prevent it? Why violate the terms of the 1978 law that was precisely a result of the worries about civil liberties after Vietnam and Watergate? And is there any connection between what the vice-president says and what he actually does? My extended take here.

– posted by Andrew.


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