TPM Reader JO responds …
ZH’s analysis is way off base, Josh.
True, torture has always gone on “in the shadows,” but understanding the old status quo is as simple as watching Mission Impossible. What is the secret agent always told? If you are captured or killed, the government will deny all knowledge of your existance. Why? Because everyone knows that torture is illegal. So if our spooks tortured, we’d deny all knowledge. That was the pre-Bush status quo.
The McCain bill legalizes the stuff the government used to “deny all knowledge” of. It makes legal interrogation techniques that rest of the world calls torture. ZH misses this glaring distinction: t hese techniques may still be “in the shadows” insofar that they are “classfied,” but they are no longer “in the shadows” in terms of legality. When the bill becomes law, it will be America’s official policy for professional CIA interrogators to use torture. And it will be perfectly legal. Period.
We are not even remotely returning to the status quo.
Makes sense to me.