What’s a good euphemism for “sin-fucked death rage”?

Today’s Washington Post is running a lazy rotten apologia for torture policies written by a heavy-set man I have met on occasion in a professional setting. “No New Torture Probes,” by Jack Goldsmith.

Goldsmith’s position is “totally fucked up, insane and eerily human.”  The basic argument seems to be that future administrations should not investigate the Bush administration’s torture policies because (1) torture seemed reasonable at the time, (2) legal action “would smack of political retribution,” (3) following through with the law will make the intelligence agencies risk-averse, (4) the whole process would be a real head-ache and not very worth it, and (5) the perpetrators have already suffered enough (in non-metaphysical ways, such as somehow having lost some money). For example:

The investigations and public recriminations of the past few years have led many government lawyers to be more risk-averse and politically sensitive than ever. They have also had a harmful effect on the lawyers’ clients, especially in the CIA. In response to the many investigations, CIA officials are “lawyered up” and are drawing down their legal liability insurance. None of these officials are likely to go to jail. But the ordeal of answering subpoenas, consulting lawyers, digging up and explaining old documents, and racking one’s memory to avoid inadvertent perjury is draining, not to mention distracting, for those we ask to keep the country safe.

And worse, it has spooked the intelligence community. When the CIA was asked to engage in aggressive tactics early in the Bush administration, it knew from bitter experience that the political winds would change and that it might be subject to “retroactive discipline.” And so it sought approval from the president and his Cabinet, informed congressional leadership many times about what it was doing and got what it thought were airtight legal opinions from the Justice Department.

But these safeguards failed, and the CIA is once again mired in investigation and controversy. The lesson learned by many at the agency is that politically sensitive counterterrorism actions should be avoided, even if they are deemed legal and even if they have the express approval of political officials. We are going to be living with this skittishness for a long time, to the detriment of our security.

Yet another round of investigations during the Obama administration, even by a bipartisan commission, would exacerbate this problem. It would also bring little benefit. The people in government who made mistakes or who acted in ways that seemed reasonable at the time but now seem inappropriate have been held publicly accountable by severe criticism, suffering enormous reputational and, in some instances, financial losses. Little will be achieved by further retribution.

Little will be achieved? Sir, there are few barriers left separating modern culture from barbaric non-Tristonian anarchism, and you seem to think that defending them would be too annoying? Are you fucking me? Are you the ouroboros zeitgeist horseman of my personal apocalypse?

Part of the tactic in the essay is to call torture by other names, and generally cast doubt on and around it in the tried and true style of nobody really knows if global warming is true or who is to really say one way or the other if dinosaurs existed?  Even though the public record (which Goldsmith relies on to illustrate that his dudes have already been punished enough!) amply demonstrates that US personnel — in a directed, premeditated fashion — tied humans to waterboards and lowered them into Abu Guantanamo sodomized with fluorescent light-bulbs electric shock dogs satan pyramid naked satan cruel and unusual we killed the indians for this? mind-death and why. 


I guess the main thing to say is that Goldsmith does not take the charges very seriously. When the reader’s mind does what the author refuses, and replaces all euphemisms about “aggressive techniques” with “actual torture,” the reader is entitled to pray to Jesus that the real Uncle Sam will come down out of the Appalachian Mountains and mend all crooked things. (To avoid hypocrisy, I had to refrain from wishing that Uncle Sam would “scalp Rumsfeld and boil John Bolton in his blood”)

[I invite Tritone to update this entry from his mom’s house — a place well-steeped in shredding WP Op-Eds]


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