Crisis averted. Presented with an agonizing moral dilemma about torture in a ticking-bomb scenario? No problem; simply deny that there’s a bomb. As Ace explains:

I was just writing [that] the left needs there to never be a coercive interrogation that results in useful intelligence if they are to maintain their absurd stance that avoiding coercion costs us nothing, as it’s not useful anyway.

If coercion or outright torture are sometimes useful, they have to retreat from that childish position and answer the more adult question, “How many innocent lives will you sacrifice to spare a terrorist pain and discomfort?”

They don’t want to answer that, of course. They’d prefer to insist that such a trade-off is purely hypothetical.

Thus, Andrew Sullivan needs the SkyBomb plot to be essentially a hoax if he is to avoid recanting his last two years’ worth of screeching about coercion and “rogue nations.”

Exactly. It’s a torture-specific example of Michael Moore’s approach to the “fictitious” war generally: if there’s no threat, you don’t have to deal with it. Normally I’d follow that by acknowledging that Sullivan’s a far cry from Moore, but now that he’s tried to link the timing of the plot’s announcement to Lieberman’s primary loss, is he? On this issue, is he really?

On the supposed lack of evidence in the case, see here. On the supposed lack of imminence, see here. It’s not “imminent” unless the bomb’s on the plane, it seems — which, let’s remind ourselves, is what the dry run would have involved. The point of it was to see if they could smuggle explosives onboard an aircraft filled with passengers.

But that was still 48 hours away when they aided the suspects’ homes. Hardly “imminent,” you’ll agree.

One other thing he said, which Ace surprisingly let him off the hook for:

I wish I didn’t find these questions popping into my head. But the alternative is to trust the Bush administration.

Been there. Done that. Learned my lesson.

We’ve seen him use that logic before. There’s literally no degree of conspiratorial craziness that Sullivan will not excuse — or indulge in himself — so long as it’s presented in terms of skepticism towards Bush. Ace accuses him of engaging in de facto 9/11 Trutherism, which sounds unfair until you realize how well it fits the pattern. If you really pressed him, I’m sure Sully would dismiss Dylan Avery as a kook — while also noting, with exquisite sadness, that he can understand how people would think Bush capable of such a thing.

He also called Karol “deranged,” which, in fairness, is entirely accurate.