On Anderw Sullivan on Torture

It would be nice to live in a world where there weren't new things to say on the topic of torture on a regular basis. But we don't, and won't for quite a while, irrespective of the practices of our own government. Today, Andrew Sullivan links to a purported book review from this Sunday's New York Times Book Review. I say purported because, like a large number of books reviews, it doesn't spend much time talking about the books at issue. But the review does provide a good degree of depth on how widespread the practice using of very abusive and cruel tactics against detainees has been, and the Bush Administration's complicity in making the U.S. stance on torture anything but 100% against. It's fairly long for a book review, but very much worth reading. Oh yeah, the book review Sullivan links to is by... Andrew Sullivan (I don't really have any point in being cutesy with this last line, but it stays as is).

Since I don't know how many of my readers are familiar with him, a couple of comments on Sullivan. There are many areas in which I vehemently disagree with him. His views on all manner of redistributive policies (e.g. taxes, welfare, social security, etc.) strike me as rather wrongheaded. I also disagreed with his endorsement of the Iraq war, an endorsement which has not unsurprisingly waned, though it is still present. I also stopped reading him for a month or so because of his obsession with bashing Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11, though that is less of a substantive criticism and more of a "he was annoying me by being repetitive" issue. Finally, and the criticism of him which is most commonly cited to whenever any liberal expresses agreement with him, it was a huge mistake to describe (click on the link, then scroll down to Retract What?) some members of the Left as "a fifth column" on September 16th, 2001. Anyway, my point is that he is quite intelligent, worth reading on almost any issue, and frequently correct on issues other than the ones I've specifically noted my disagreement with him on. Also, he has been on top of (and condemning) Abu Ghraib and related torture issues since day one, and is an expert on gay marriage, having been involved in the issue since before almost anyone. Here's a link to his short bio, circa 2000.