Here’s a question I never thought I’d find myself asking: After unsuccessfully trying to get Andrew Sullivan to slip you some tongue, what can you possibly do for an encore? Well, if you’re Chris Hitchens, you make the case that the Bush administration tortured detainees because We, The People demanded it:
Hitchens then claimed that the Bush administration’s commitment to harsh interrogation techniques, which he considers torture, derived from a desire among Americans for a more “ruthless” government. “It has to be admitted by every American that in the majority after the 9/11 Commission, people wanted an administration that was much more ruthless than the one they’d had on September the 10th,” he said.
“I know something for a sure thing,” Hitchens continued. “The demand for torture and other methods I would describe as illegal, the demand to go outside the Geneva conventions — all this came from below. What everyone wants to say is this came from a small clique around the vice-president. It’s not educational. It doesn’t enlighten anyone to behave as if that were true. This is our society wanting and demanding harsh measures.”
I just have one little tiny question: If the Bush administration was practicing torture in response to public demand for heightened governmental savagery, then why did Dubya make a point of repeating over and over again, "We do not torture"? Why did they fight to suppress the second wave of Abu Ghraib photos and videos? I mean, if they were torturing prisoners to appease our communal bloodlust, wouldn’t they be bragging about it? Wouldn’t they be saying, "Yeah, that’s right – we’re torturing Muslims and it’s AWESOME!"?
Now you know why I don’t drink…