The Torture Debate as Kabuki Theater
by Scott Shields, Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 09:56:54 AM EST
In response, I explained that, at least for myself, it was becoming incredibly frustrating that one of the most conservative members of the US Senate was able to position himself as a 'moderate' just because he didn't support torture. That it's accepted and promoted by the corporate media as conventional wisdom shows just how far right the center has shifted in the last twenty years.
Essentially, I told him that I thought the 'fight' between McCain and Bush wasn't real. "It's all kabuki theater for 2008," is exactly what I wrote. My take on the situation was -- and still is -- that supporting torture doesn't hurt Bush's already low approval ratings as the people who are truly bothered by torture abandoned Bush a long time ago. However, loudly speaking out publicly against torture helps John McCain. It sets him up as independent from the President and makes him look like a humanitarian next to Republicans like Rumsfeld. The whole 'fight' on torture has more or less been stage managed.
According to Andrew Sullivan's reporting, it sounds like there's some confirmation that I was right all along.THE ABOLITION OF TORTURE: I'm told a White House statement is imminent on the McCain Amendent. I'm told the White House has embraced the amendment, with no changes. If true, this is a huge step forward for the president, the war and American honor. It also has, I think, implications for McCain's possible succession to Bush as president.
How can Sullivan be so naive? I don't know. I'm guessing that it's a case of willful ignorance. But I expect this will become the conventional wisdom on how the 'torture debate' played out -- McCain stood firm in the face of opposition from Bush, but eventually got him to come around on torture. Wow, McCain's a Great American and Bush is reasonable, after all.
Like I've said all along, this whole thing was stage managed. The only good thing to come out of it -- and it's no small thing, to be sure -- is a ban on torture. We'll see if the ban is just window dressing or if it actually changes bad policy. But make no mistake. This isn't being done because it's the right thing to do. It's being done because it makes the most political sense for the Republican Party at the moment.