Anne Applebaum on the Bush legacy of torture:
The United States is not and never was a fascist state, and the CIA prisons were not and never were the Gulag. These 14 men were not tortured as part of an ordinary and accepted routine, in other words, but according to special rules and procedures, set up at the highest level of government, by people who surely knew that they were illegal; otherwise, they would not have limited them so carefully. What we need now, therefore, is not an endless, politicized circus of a congressional investigation into every aspect of George W. Bush’s White House but a carefully targeted legal investigation of the CIA’s invisible prisons: who gave the orders to use torture, who carried out the orders, what exactly was done, who objected. The guilty, however senior, should be named, forced to testify and called to account — because the rule of law, and nothing else, is what makes us exceptional.
Read the whole thing.