Line of Least Resistance

Jeremy Harding

How far can an American president sink below the line of least resistance? Andrew Sullivan answers this question in a blogpost about Guantánamo. That Obama has failed to address the breaking apart of human beings by Americans on the base makes him the inheritor of the Texan legacy on torture: Barack W. Obama, second president of Gitmo. 'To his eternal shame', as Sullivan remarks.


  • 2 May 2011 at 11:59pm
    Bob Beck says:
    In the event, eternity lasted only 24 hours -- at least, to those who might credit "enhanced interrogation" at Guantanamo for the information that led to the "taking out" of Bin Laden.

    And are even liberal [sic] critics of Obama now downplaying their opposition to Guantanamo? I can't bear to look.

    • 3 May 2011 at 7:46am
      Joe Morison says: @ Bob Beck
      I don't understand this post. What are you saying?

  • 3 May 2011 at 2:10pm
    Bob Beck says:
    Not well written, I'll grant. OK, Take Two:

    I just wonder if Obama's critics -- not the Republicans or birthers, I mean, but the more or less rational critics who perhaps supported or continue to support him, but have been bitterly opposed to Guantanamo staying open -- will now go silent on that subject, or mill around sheepishly. Many such supporters have acted opportunistically before, or rationalized some dreadful decisions of Obama's.

    The "[sic]" after "liberals" just indicates my doubts about how liberal some such supporters really are. Among the other things they've rationalized have been trials by military commission, indefinite detention without trial, the continuation of Bush-era levels of government secrecy, and so on.

    • 3 May 2011 at 7:09pm
      Joe Morison says: @ Bob Beck
      Got you, and it's sound wondering. Obviously, torture sometimes yields useful information; in this case it led to a propaganda coup for the US. But comparing that to the propaganda disaster which was the US coming to be seen as a country that approves the use of torture is as comparing a molehill to a deep sea trench.

    • 3 May 2011 at 9:35pm
      Bob Beck says: @ Joe Morison
      Though according to the New York Times -- and despite Republican spin -- torture in this case actually produced no useful intelligence. The investigators were able to get somewhere only by assuming the two prisoners involved were not telling the truth under torture. Conversely, their useful info came from a "normal" interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.