What legalizing torture really does is to ensure it becomes routine. (The government has already admitted that at least five prisoners have been tortured to death.) Bush’s defense of torture comes down to a single argument: that atrocious acts are permissible in the pursuit of sufficiently important ends. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would agree.
It may not rise to the level of high crime, nor even misdemeanor. But make no mistake: America has endured a low-level governance-by-deception that has droned too long just below our radar of impeachable offenses. It has left behind a vapor trail that shows a clear pattern of official deceptions, foreign and domestic.
Back in darkest days of the Cold War, when Americans and Russians faced the bleak specter of a decades-long struggle for global dominance and the distinct possibility of thermonuclear holocaust, geopolitical gamers often mused about playing the “China card.”