Long-time readers will know that I consider it likely that torture will wind up as a partisan issue, with Republicans supporting it. I've proposed that the way to get around that is for Barack Obama to set up a Truth Commission that would document exactly what was done, and that it didn't "work" in the sense of being a good way to get information from detainees (noting that even if it had, there are other reasons it's a bad idea; also noting that it is of course possible, although in my view very unlikely, that an honest commission would reach other conclusions). However, I've also said that in order to get both bureaucratic and Republican buy-in, the logical price is to begin by issuing broad pardons to everyone involved, along with some presidential language praising the efforts of George W. Bush and the Bush administration after the September 11 attacks, treating torture as a well-intentioned and understandable overreaction, although clearly a mistake.
My question for liberals (and, for that matter, all torture opponents) isn't so much whether this approach would succeed in putting the bulk of the GOP in the anti-torture camp. My question is whether, if it was successful in doing so, the trade-off would be worth it. Basically, the question is: if the price for getting GOP leaders to really, thoroughly, condemn torture, including the Bush-era policies, is to both legally and, to the extent a president can do so, morally pardon the people responsible -- would you support that deal?