Monday, July 14, 2008
A new book suggests, in the words of Frank Rich, that in Bush's White House 'the president is a secondary, even passive, figure, and the motives invoked by Mr Cheney to restore Nixon-style executive powers are theoretically selfless.' I found myself thinking lately that Bush may have undergone some kind of psychological meltdown - I assumed recently because of his increasingly weird demeanour, but perhaps not - and that Cheney was more or less running things. I've wondered about Dick Cheney before; his apparent desire to Israelify American society is disturbing and irrational - it hasn't, after all, worked for Israel. But there are, for the moment, too many unknowables about this. But there is one known - torture. As time passes the administration's embrace of torture - apparently at the command of Cheney - comes to seem ever more catastrophic. Equally, the justification for the legalisation of torture - that, since we do it anyway, we should make it above board - advanced by Alan Dershowitz is ever more beside the point. The only point is that Bush/Cheney stepped across a line we believed ourselves, officially at least, incapable of crossing. And now, unsurprisingly, we don't know who we are.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 12:47 pm