Why is it OK that Obama's transition chief for intelligence policy, John Brennan, is pro-torture?
See Glenn here. Progressives? Oh, progressives? Speak up, please!
Of course, Brennan is also for warrantless surveillance, and against holding Villagers accountable under the rule of law, as Glenn shows here. And why is that OK?
To me, Brennan is a classic example of WIBDI -- What If Bush Did It. In that case, progressives would be, and have been, outraged.
Progressives? Speak up, please!
NOTE From TalkLeft, plenty. Also, see this one post from Digby. But nothing from Atrios. Stoller, only back in March. An interesting data point about Brennan back in May at C&L, but no main posts. From WKJM, nada. From AmericaBlog, nothing. How very, very odd.
UDPATE If anyone comes up with any more progressive hits (or misses) please add them in comments. Being pro-torture? Purest Chnage, eh?
UPDATE Interestingly, Brennan's company was involved in a passport breach in the primaries, where employees of his company, in an "isolated incident," looked at passport data for Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Brennan was an advisor (and spokesperson) for the Obama campaign back then, too.
UPDATE Via Think Progress, this from Obama on 60 minutes tonight:
[OBAMA] I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.
The problem here is that we've heard almost those exact words before: "I've said to the people that we don't torture, and we don't". So words alone don't cut it. Actions would help, and one such action -- a way to "walk the walk," as it were, on regaining our "moral standing" -- would be cutting loose a pro-torture advisor. Like John Brennan. Although words that would be nice to hear would be words to the effect that torturers -- and other lawbreaking by the administration -- would be help accountable, hopefully by criminal prosecution or a truth and reconciliation commission.
Now, lest any Obama fan get all bent out of shape -- "He said Obama is just like Bush" -- that's not the point. Humankind, by nature, has the propensity to work evil (just as we can do good). That goes for all of us, Democrat and Republican alike, as Milgram and Zimbardo showed in their famous experiments. Human nature is such that we need checks and balances against the unrestrained exercise of power; we need the rule of law; we need accountability. As Madison wrote (Federalist 51) "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." And since we are not angels, having pro-torture advisors around us is not a good first step toward regaining our moral standing.