Saturday, April 18, 2009

All wrong all the time

Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen has perfected the rhetorical technique of dumping large amounts of faux-authoritative detail to make it seem like he has refuted an argument.

When he hasn't. The recurring issue in his extended screeds is whether al-Qaeda detainee was a super villain and whether CIA torture caused him to reveal useful details to investigators. Thiessen keeps affirming both but reporters who look at the actual evidence and talk to actual people involved in the case find otherwise.

Here's the latest installment today from the New York Times where the steady downgrading of Zubaydah's importance relative to the initial hype is noted, but also that the interrogation techniques were escalated long after he had given up any useful information. These were the interrogations that led Bush's lawyers to parse whether "pain and suffering" were single or joint concepts.

Apart from anything else, Thiessen is relying on old information, from the time when Bush was selectively releasing classified information into his speeches to justify his policies. But don't look for him to stop using 2006 talking points to refute 2009 evidence.

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