Dan Froomkin, Digby, and Atrios have all linked to this Washington Post article about the brutal and ultimately ineffective treatment of Abu Zubaida, whom the Bush Administration claimed was Al Qaeda's "Chief of Operations" and a vital source of information that prevented further terror attacks and saved American lives. Problem is, like so many other things Bush claimed, it's all bullshit, and there's no evidence that the torture of Abu Zubaida provided America's intelligence agencies with anything other than stroke material for Dick Cheney.
Bush, Cheney, and the rest of those sorry bastards, with their constant verbal malaprops, perpetual scowls, cub-reporter-man-whores and old-man-buckshot-bukkake were easy to mock. Lord knows I did my share; I think that's because deep down I couldn't forget that these people were (and remain), for lack of a better term, monsters. And now I can't help thinking that, just like the core of my mockery of Bush and his cronies was my fear and loathing of them, the root cause of some of Bush and Cheney's most absurd and laughable antics was, in fact, something horrible.
To wit: their periodic noodling with the color-coded terror alerts. It was always good for a few yuks when they nudged it up to orange, or told us to duct tape our household pets' orifices shut - usually and transparently because they needed a boost in their poll numbers. But then I read this:
Does anyone reading this have any difficulty imagining Cheney ordering a confession beaten out of someone in order to justify tweaking the terror alert, just in case someone called him on it? No, I don't either.
(The picture above is from a contemporary account of waterboarding as used by the Spanish Inquisition. One of my simple rules of thumb is that if the Spanish Inquisition did it, IT'S TORTURE.)