December 15, 2005
MORE ON TORTURE: They're still wrangling over the McCain bill, but I think it's pretty much certain to pass, with at most minor modifications. And at the risk of sounding like an Alexander Bickel proceduralist, I think that's a good thing even aside from the merits: This sort of thing is Congress's duty. I'm not sure, however, that the bill is specific enough, and I think that an unclear bill will either chill legitimate interrogations, or leave gray areas that will permit conduct that's tantamount to torture or -- likely as not -- both. But I'm not sure about that, and at least Congress is making some sort of move to address its constitutional responsibilities.
Meanwhile, I think there's an excellent discussion of the topic by Mickey Kaus and Robert Wright over at their very cool Blogging Heads TV site.
And Andrew Sullivan -- pursuant to his apparent brand differentiation strategy, I guess -- is bravely standing up to the "NRO-Reynolds chorus," whatever that means. I don't think I really agree with Mark Levin, Rich Lowry, et al. on the specific subject at hand, though I confess that I haven't followed that particular pissing match very closely. However, I do agree with them that Andrew has been consistently, pompously, and annoyingly moralistic and irritatingly unspecific. So if that's the chorus, well yes -- but it's a song that has a lot of notes, most of them struck by Andrew himself. And I'm irritated with him, not for the reason you might think -- because I disagree with Andrew -- but more the contrary, because every time I read one of his preening posts, I find my opposition to torture weakening in response, even though I've been consistently in opposition to torture since 2001 (and before). God help me if he ever starts blogging in support of nanotechnology and bans on cloning -- I'll probably start looking at Leon Kass more sympathetically. It's like listening to Robert Bork talk about original understanding jurisprudence.