"Witch Hunts," "Show Trials" and Other Beltway Delusions | Harper's Magazine

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“Witch Hunts,” “Show Trials” and Other Beltway Delusions


In Tehran reports circulate that protestors held in the infamous Evin Prison are being waterboarded. The practice was unheard of in Iran before the latest troubles. So where did the Iranians get the idea of waterboarding prisoners? Ask Dick Cheney. Iranians, like others around the world, are carefully watching the torture debate in America. The former vice president describes waterboarding as “dunking in water” and insists it isn’t torture. Those who set the political stage in Washington dismiss the question of accountability for torture as an “attempt to criminalize policy differences.” The idea that Washington’s trivialization of the issue will result in tens of thousands around the world being tortured, in some cases tortured to death, is beyond their comprehension. Chuck Todd is one of the brighter political commentators of the new generation, yet in recent on-air remarks even he fell for these typical inside-the-Beltway delusions. Glenn Greenwald challenged him, and the two had a face-off interview that is well worth a listen. Now Stephen Colbert takes a look at Chuck Todd and his perspective on the torture debate, putting Todd’s views in just the context in which they need to be assessed.

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