Andrew Sullivan quotes Vladimir Bukovsky on the consequences of the toleration of torture by Russian leaders:
… in its heyday, Joseph Stalin’s notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes. And once the NKVD went into high gear, not even Stalin could stop it at will. He finally succeeded only by turning the fury of the NKVD against itself; he ordered his chief NKVD henchman, Nikolai Yezhov (Beria’s predecessor), to be arrested together with his closest aides.
So, why would democratically elected leaders of the United States ever want to legalize what a succession of Russian monarchs strove to abolish? Why run the risk of unleashing a fury that even Stalin had problems controlling?
Andy then observes:
It is one of history’s great tragedies that American conservatism, born in part in resistance to Soviet torture, should end by endorsing it in America, by Americans. And not just endorsing it, but brandishing the use of it as a tool to gain re-election and maintain power.
But this what happens when an amoral, historically ignorant clique takes power and seeks to exploit fear for partisan political ends. With the capitulation of McCain and his Republican colleagues, Edmund Burke’s words ring truer than ever….