Read, Weep, Start Over

Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick provides a very clear-headed analysis of the proposed torture bill that is now on the fast track toward become a law.

Asked whether he had “access to more information about this than any of us because you’ve been in the negotiations,” the senator was not reassuring. He knows “only what the president talked about in his speech.” To clarify: McCain, the Geneva Conventions’ great defender, is signing off on interrogation limits he knows nothing about. And so, it appears, will the most of the rest of Congress.

But that’s not all. Congress doesn’t want to know what it’s bargaining away this week. In the Boston Globe this weekend, Rick Klein revealed that only “10 percent of the members of Congress have been told which interrogation techniques have been used in the past, and none of them know which ones would be permissible under proposed changes to the War Crimes Act.” More troubling still, this congressional ignorance seems to be by choice. Klein quotes Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican, as saying, “I don’t know what the CIA has been doing, nor should I know.” Evidently, “widely distributing such information could result in leaks.”

We’ve reached a defining moment in our democracy when our elected officials are celebrating their own blind ignorance as a means of keeping the rest of us blindly ignorant as well.

If I ever meet another democrat who waxes poetic about John McCain, I don’t answer for my actions.

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