As you know, we are big fans of Jack Bauer and the show 24. This in spite of the fact that Bauer and his cohorts regularly use torture as a standard interrogation procedure. (Not only is it terrible, we also know torture doesn't work well as an interrogation technique.) But we take this in stride and ignore it---it is after all fiction. And escapist fiction at that. Right?
A recent NY Times op-ed by Bob Herbert talks about a new book called The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. It spends a lot of time on David Addington, a key member of Cheney's staff:
In the view of Mr. Addington and his acolytes, anything and everything that the president authorized in the fight against terror — regardless of what the Constitution or Congress or the Geneva Conventions might say — was all right. That included torture, rendition, warrantless wiretapping, the suspension of habeas corpus, you name it.
Okay, fine---this isn't particularly surprising. But here's what really got me:
To get a sense of the heights of madness scaled in this anything-goes atmosphere, consider a brainstorming meeting held by military officials at Guantánamo. Ms. Mayer said the meeting was called to come up with ways to crack through the resistance of detainees.
“One source of ideas,” she wrote, “was the popular television show ‘24.’ On that show as Ms. Mayer noted, “torture always worked. It saved America on a weekly basis.”
What??? They were really looking to 24 for ideas on what to do to the detainees?