Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Getting Away With It, Sort Of

Well, here's a case where someone is, in a way, getting away with it (regular readers will know that it's become a pet peeve of mine that various people are said to be "getting away with" things when in fact they are quite unpopular and their arguments have been repudiated by elections). 

I just saw torture apologist Marc Thiessen on CSPAN repeating, first of all, his argument that the Obama Administration is foolishly killing, rather than torturing, too many terrorists (today's news apparently notwithstanding; I turned it on too late to hear his explanation if any on that part of it), but more to the point his claim that torture and only torture prevented the Library Plot in Los Angeles from working.  And yet a quick search returns me to Tim Noah's wonderful quick piece thoroughly debunking the Library Plot story: it seems that by the Bush Administration's own chronology, that particular plan was busted, with its leader arrested, a full year before KSM was captured (and then tortured, after which he supposedly spilled the beans on the Library Plot).  Of course, it's also true, as Noah points out, that hijacking planes to use as missiles was hardly a viable strategy after (or even on) September 11, 2001.

Now, when I say that Theissen is getting away with it, I certainly don't mean that Republicans in general are getting away with these bogus arguments; in fact, Obama's approval ratings on national security issues are just fine.  And national security certainly didn't do much for Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections cycles.  No, the Republican Party is not getting away with much in that area these days.

But Thiessen?  Well, he made the Library Plot argument in a Washington Post op-ed back in April of last year.  It was, as I said, pretty thoroughly debunked by Noah the same day (and see too this relevant and in my opinion underplayed story).  His reward for that, and for his creative but ludicrous "Obama is weak because he's killing too many terrorists" attack line, is a regular gig at the Washington Post, where he's apparently going to continue to peddle his long-discredited bunk and hokum.  Including the biggest fraud, which he also repeated on CSPAN this morning, that the United States never tortured anyone. 

The arguments aren't winning.  The GOP isn't winning by making these arguments.

But Marc Thiessen is, in fact, getting away with it.

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