Recently, on this blog, we've talked about the principled left and right uniting to challenge the power of the establishment. Some are wary of this notion.
However, the left & right members of the establishment do this all the time, often without being deliberate about it. A classic example is how the Democratic and Republican parties cooperate to exclude third parties by creating legal barriers to entry and other tactics, like exclusion from national presidential debates.
And, when the left and right wing establishment figures are both guilty of similar crimes, they tag-team to protect each other. I suspect we're seeing this happen with torture.
The myth is that George Bush dragged the nation across the line into the dark world of using torture. His only difference was one of degree and of admission. The reality is that torture has been used in the past under presidencies of both parties. The dirty wars of the 1970s & 1980s, for which the Salvador Option of the Iraq war is named, is a classic example; the CIA was deeply involved in those civil wars of the oligarchies against their own people who were demanding more democracy (threat of communism was mostly just an excuse for the violence against the people*).
The idea for this blog post came to me when I heard** that the Obama administration had appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate human rights lawyers who had uncovered CIA involvement in torture during the Bush administration (See: Fitzgerald "Irony" or "Poke-in-the-eye"?). Fitzgerald was made famous for investigating the Bush administration's outing of CIA asset Valerie Plame.
Can't have the rif-raf getting too close to the truth on torture.
* Side Note: Another myth about torture is that it is solely used as part of the interrogation process. The reality is that it is used to strike fear and suppress the opposition.
Mother Jones Magazine, July/Aug, 2020.