Andrew Sullivan makes a really interesting point about Rand Paul running for president, which is that if he does make a run — and he’s obviously going to — it will force the issue of torture out into the open. His opponents will undoubtedly raise the issue to attack him.
But the one place where the debate has not really broken out is in the political party that embraced those war crimes – the GOP. Yes, John McCain took on the torture crowd in 2008 and won the nomination. But his successor, Mitt Romney, pledged to “double Gitmo” and bring torture back. Very few Republican writers want to confront the topic; Charles Krauthammer actually favors the setting up of a specific torture unit, without pondering whether its shirts should be brown. Torture enthusiasts, like Marc Thiessen, are given perches at the Washington Post, while war criminals like Cheney and Hayden are given endless platforms on the Sunday morning talk shows.
But if Rand Paul runs for president, a debate will surely have to break out. David Corn – is David trying to kill off Paul’s candidacy or trumpet it? – digs not so deep again to discover unequivocal hostility to the torture of the Bush-Cheney years in some interviews Paul did in 2009. Encouragingly, Paul won’t have any truck with the newspeak echoed by the craven New York Times.
Once his opponents attack him on this, and they will, he’ll be forced to respond. And that will force the issue out into the open. And that will be a very good thing.