Even if you have to torture logic to do it. Chris Matthews tries to explain that of course he would torture under extreme circumstances. The real crime, as Matthews explains, is changing the definition of torture (via Radio Vice Online):
Ah, the hilarity that Nancy Pelosi hath wrought. After issuing condemnations for the last several weeks of enhanced interrogation techniques as an absolute repudiation of America, now the Left has to figure out an attack on the Bush administration that lets Pelosi and fellow Democrats in Congress who knew and approved the techniques off the hook.
Out: Unconditional, absolute proscriptions against “torture”. In: Rogue Presidents who break the law at times of extreme duress, as long as they don’t try to parse the meaning of “torture” by actually building a legal defense. Because apparently the real crime now is not that Bush & Co “tortured” detainees, but that they asked for a legal definition before using the EITs.
The scenario that Matthews spins sounds pretty reminiscent of what the US faced in 2002, when the EITs were used. We had just seen al-Qaeda vaporize thousands of Americans in the space of 90 minutes, and we had received all kinds of intelligence that another attack may be on its way at any moment. We capture three high-ranking AQ leaders, and we need to find out what they know as quickly as possible, because we don’t know squat and the attack could come at any time. According to Chris Matthews in this clip, and Chuck Schumer in 2004, start pulling toenails, baby!
We can have a debate over what techniques work and what cross the line, which is the honest debate to have, as long as we have all of the information on what was done, what was gleaned, and what was stopped as a result. Matthews isn’t interested in honest debate. He’s parsing madly to keep as much blame as possible on Bush for doing less than Matthews suggests here, while absolving Democrats for their participation. It’s not just hopeless bias, it’s hackery of the lowest order.