The pieces date from the years I self-identified as "right wing," too, which colors my thinking and my conception of the audience. There were plenty of "right-wingers" in those days pleased to be against torture because Alan Dershowitz was for it, and because it was as yet an abstract question (so far as we knew). Also, I later realized, it dovetailed with the desire to launch a war against Iraq. "Saddam's torture state" was a common epithet for the place in hawkish blog and legacy-media circles throughout 2002 and 2003. You were supposed to hate Saddam Hussein because he tortured, and to want to stop torture in Iraq by toppling Saddam Hussein.Just thought I'd share this little stroll down memory lane.
Later, we all had to choose whether to be against actual existing torture or to enable it in various now-familiar ways. Options included, redefine the term so that whatever we knew the US wasn't doing fell outside the new definition; theatrically declare the whole question of "What is torture?" frightfully complicated; simply stop talking about the issue altogether; argue that torture is, in fact, awesome when we do it.
HIGAZY AND TORTURE....Jim Henley, who has been blogging longer than me, and therefore dealing with the right-wing blogosphere longer than me, posts a few links today to pieces he wrote back in 2002 about the Abdallah Higazy story. But first, there's this reminder about how the torture debate used to break down: