Anthony Lewis writes in the New York Review of Books (subscription required): "In these last weeks of turbulent events, the single most significant has not been the financial crisis, not the fall of a governor, not the passing of the fifth year of the war without end in Iraq. It has been an American president's formal blessing of the use of torture.
"That was what President Bush did in early March when he vetoed legislation prohibiting the use of brutal methods of interrogation by American intelligence agents. His action was quickly overtaken by other news. But in its redefinition of American values--of the American character--it had profound implications.
"I grew up believing that Americans did not torture prisoners, as Hitler's and Stalin's agents did. There were rogue episodes of American brutality, but to make torture a national policy? Unthinkable.
"No one should be in any doubt that torture was what President Bush had in mind. No one should be fooled by Orwellian talk of 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' . . .
"George W. Bush can seek his God's mercy for trying to legitimize torture by Americans. But here on earth he cannot escape judgment. For me he will always be the Torture President."
No truer word can be said.
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