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Lambert and the gang at Corrente were largely behind Hillary Clinton in the primaries; unlike some sites (and individuals) that lapsed into self-parody afterward, they remembered the issues that made them support her in the first place. But while they supported Sen. Obama in the general election they didn’t forget the bruising fight for the Democratic nomination or why they preferred someone else for it. That wariness and skepticism was on full display last week, and it strikes me as an extremely healthy outlook to take into the coming Obama administration (also see digby). However excited you may be about what his election represents and its potential for change, in the end we will know him by what he does.
Lambert and McClatchy aren’t the only ones asking about Guantánamo. Across the political spectrum - from the ACLU to torture advocates - people are noting the issues with the current policies that will become de facto policies in the Obama White House if they are not explicitly addressed quickly. And even in a week when the horse race came to its conclusion and had everyone’s attention (thank God it wasn’t a photo finish this time) life in the gulag of our time plods along. From a policy perspective the real news was the dog that didn’t bark. Did you notice no one anywhere was out crowing about our Major Victory in the War On Terror?
I continue to loathe the bailout.
UNPACKING JANE: On page 134 Mayer talks to former MI5 security officer Tom Parker about the effectiveness of torture and coercion in gathering intelligence. He says that the immediate urgency of ending the pain produces a great volume of information and it is not trivial to separate any scraps of truth thus released from the torrent of “make it stop” verbiage. Then Parker relates the U.K.’s experience with the IRA (and that, ahem, was available for our leaders to learn from): “The marginal amount of intelligence gained is outweighed by the damage done. The U.S. is doing what Great Britain did in the 1970s. They violated civil liberties, and it did nothing but radicalize the entire population.” Mayer concludes that the administration “did no empirical study. The policy seems to have been based on some combination of political preference and intuitive belief about human nature.” Brilliant analysis. It’s a shame she needed to make it.