Andrew Sullivan – still theoretically not blogging during his August sabbatical to work on articles for The Atlantic – had to chime in last week when further torture documents were released:
American evangelicals are much more pro-torture in this respect than many Iranian Muslims.
This is what Bush and Cheney truly achieved in their tragic response to 9/11: two terribly failed, brutally expensive wars, the revival of sectarian warfare and genocide in the Middle East, the end of America’s global moral authority, the empowerment of Iran’s and North Korea’s dictatorships, and the nightmares of Gitmo and Bagram still haunting the new administration.
But what they did to the culture – how they systematically dismantled core American values like the prohibition on torture and respect for the rule of law – is the worst and most enduring of the legacies.
One political party in this country is now explicitly pro-torture, and wants to restore a torture regime if it regains power.
Last summer, I actually wrote a piece coming to almost the exact same conclusion. I wrote that Bush had made things “just bad enough” that we would be able to reverse course and start down a better path – that his presidency had served as a kind of innoculation against certain tyrannical elements. This proved to be true on a political level – but I missed the cultural transformation that has led so many people to defend the indefensible. This is perhaps the most damning legacy Bush of Bush’s presidency.