Dick Cheney has been the face of the torture wing of the GOP for the last year, but the fact is that he's not so well liked. Judging by the text of the GOP response, which will be delivered by the newly elected governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, Senator-elect Scott Brown is the new face of the pro-torture GOP:
We applaud President Obama's decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We agree that victory there is a national security imperative. But we have serious concerns over recent steps the Administration has taken regarding suspected terrorists.
Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence.
As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.
Yet, terrorists tried by military commission are given access to military counsel, and the military is paid through taxes, so this criticism is incoherent. The underwear bomber was interviewed prior to being mirandized and can continue to be interrogated as long as that information is not used in court. The overall point is clear though: For Republicans, anyone accused of terrorism is automatically guilty and does not deserve due process.
What's new here is that the GOP is putting those ideas in the mouth of Scott Brown rather than Dick Cheney. As I first noted when he was elected, Brown is an ardent supporter of waterboarding and denying legal rights to terror suspects. By presenting Cheney's views as that of a new, popular senator who is also a former military lawyer, Republicans can avoid the political liabilities of associating themselves with an unattractive political figure from an unpopular administration.
-- A. Serwer
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