It is not as if there were not Anti-Americans such as McCain who were leading the charge with efforts to stab our troops in the back by mandating that congress held that torture was actually illegal in american law. A lovely piece of kabuki theatre. Since too many americans have no moral qualm that when it is done by 'the enemy', as in the case of Texas Law Enforcement under the Reagan Administration, and their HanoiFriends, torture is still just torture.
IF one starts from that premise - then Torture is undefendable, and it is the status quo ante. Thus it would be up to the radicals to show that there were some clear and compelling reason to overturn the actual american history that we as americans do not support torture. That our Founding fathers included all of those safe guards in the bill of right to keep the radical left wingers from engaging in state sponsored terrorism!
But that way of course would mean retreating to the failed pre-911 culture where there was some form of distinction between A and 'Not A' that still mattered.
But let us look at another part of the problem here.
All of this presumes that the CIA was unequivocally clear that it had opted to engage in war crimes. A point that is not at all in evidence. If there is any greater central problem with Panetta's Non-Denail-Flatulation that it is up to congress to resolve IF they are lying, then it is that currently the CIA is unable to tell if they even KNEW the truth. Let alone if they had at any time been near such a thing if it were to have existed.
We are therefore left to resolve IF Panetta when he says that the CIA does not lie to Congress, if this too is within the scope of assertions that congress must vet by some as yet unstated means.
Thus we are again visiting the question of
Which IS the Status Quo Ante?since this will help us resolve where the onus of proof resides.
The presumption that karl rove and friends are making is that there is no doubt in their mind that the CIA briefed congress openly and truthfully that they were engaged in war crimes. That this was the policy of the executive, under the much vaunted Unitary Executive Principle and that this was all well know inside of the party, based upon the established policies of the Party and it's loyalty to the Leader under the leadership principle.
Never mind the dirty stinking hippie draft dodger McCain who was stabbing the troops in the back by trying to legislate that torture was still criminal under american law. Since such persons are not True Party Memebers.
IF that is the case, then clearly all of those who are defending the 'clearly stated policy' of the regime to embark upon War Crimes, have the glorious first position that they had so clearly overcome any previous policy, and established that the status quo ante was in fact that the United States Of America advocates and actualizes a policy of war crimes.
Thus they hold the 'status quo ante' and anyone who seeks to challenge it, has the obligation to bear the onus of proof in any argument to overcome the 'status quo ante'.
The problem of course is that IF this is True, then Karl is admitting, but would not want to be held accountable for, that which he is Projecting onto others! That he is personally engaged in the process of not only advocating war crimes, but having engaged in the creation of such war crimes.
The alternative of course is equally simple and clear.
The CIA tried desperately to not openly assert that they were engaged in war crimes. This lead to the various linguistic subtrefuges. We can play the semantic games about 'enhanced and empowered and enabled interrogation methods', and all will be able to say,
But that did not say torture!Yeah, right...
Thus it is once we say that foo is anenhanced and empowered and enabled interrogation methodthat we have so clearly calledAlly Ally In Come Free!and thus you can not persecute us!
For We BELIEVED in Great Leader, until we did not
In the unpleasant head space of the Psuedo-Cons, who were all about defeating RINO, until they decided that they had always been conservatives before they had been Republicans. It is really easy to hear all of the super secret code words - because that was so well defined as the way that things were communicated. Thus when they heard the code word for torture, what ever it was, they DID in fact hear that the CIA had briefed congress that it was in fact engaged in war crimes.
So for Psuedo Cons, that point is without dispute. Since the CIA PAO used the special words! Thus clearly congress was briefed.
But notice where that puts us.
It puts us where we are sooooo past the land of plain spoken men, speaking honestly.
But it also means that those who are pointing fingers are merely in a negotiation phase. They want to be able to be the star witness! They WANT to be indemnified by who ever is in power, so as to retain their standing as the folks who were not really convicted of any of the things that happened.
Since, they really had no convictions to begin with. They were merely seeking to be indemnified by who ever was in power!
That painfully is the real status quo ante here. That as a nation, we have arrived at the unpleasant space where there is no need to have 'true XOR false', since it is all morally relative! And that is the morality of who has the power. Karl Rove and friends are projecting because they need to have everyone understand that it really was not their fault!
Or the more comical gambit in these times of Going Galt, that they are in some majikal way attempting to establish that they have always been the valiant french resistance fighting against the Nazi Butchers like Nancy Pelosi who...
The alternative is that we step back, and ask a series of basic and simple questions.
Have americans abandoned the rule of law, merely because they are the sort of scardy cats who run in fear?
Has the status quo ante really changed? Do those who seek to assert the rule of law in america find that they are obliged to overcome the burden of proof about the need for the rule of law in america?
Has the status quo ante really changed with regards to war crimes? Do those who wish to restore as a part of the restoration of the rule of law in america, the laws of land warfare, as embodied in the FM-27 series publications have so clearly stated for over fifty years NOW!
Or are we in the worser of all spaces, where the convictions of american armed forces personnel in american Military Courts the TRUE stab in the back! Because they are convictions for 'crimes' which Karl Rove and friends are now say were no longer crimes! Because the CIA had brief them in as acceptable practices.
It really gets that Simple In The Dark.