To me the saddest part about this hot mess is that we pretty much all knew all of this all along. We knew what was going on, or, at least, that something fairly awful was going on, and didn't care enough to make a fuss about knowing the details or care enough to stop it. Seydlitz discussed this all here four years ago; the real crimes here were committed by We the People. We knew all of this, and we knew that the whole nonsense about how this was "protecting us" and "fighting terrorism" was nonsense ginned up by people many of whom wanted to see just how far the American People were willing to go into the darkness if distracted enough by fear and foolishness.
And if there was ever any doubt of that distance this report clarifies that there really are no limits to the fear and inertia of the American Public. Provided I can spin a scary enough story, provided I can puff even the thinnest smokescreen imaginable, I can do anything. I can torture. I can kill. I can commit the sorts of war crimes that the Arsenal of Democracy executed people for in the Forties.
And I can do it in all-but-plain-view because the huge unmoving slorg of Public Opinion will be utterly unarsed enough to even bother to ask questions, to so much as slip a letter of reprimand in my 201 File.
Don't make me fucking laugh.
And make no mistake; without punishment this will happen again. And again There's always a good reason for breaking the laws. Smoking guns become mushroom clouds. Not fighting them there means fighting them here. They hate our freedoms. They're coming to kill us.
But then you find that if you cut down the laws to get at the devil, when you catch him you'll find that there is nowhere for you to shelter from the broad highway of evil you've opened up, the laws all being flat.
Update: The always-eloquent Charlie Pierce has more. And worse. And much, much more and much, much worse.
"I no longer take seriously anyone, in or out of government, who talks about "the debate" over whether the United States tortured people. The only debate left is the debate over whether or not it will remain the policy of this nation to torture people, or to outsource the job of torturing people, or to otherwise commit moral and national suicide by euphemism.
Anyone who still believes there's a "debate" over whether or not the United States, using techniques previously used by the Japanese Imperial Army, the Gestapo, the North Korean People's Army, and the KGB, tortured people is an idiot and a coward and I have no time for them. Not any more. Debate's over. We became what they think we are. And worse. This is not debatable and, alas, it is anything but a surprise."