About those memos and their release, some thoughts:
-Honestly, I was surprised they were released so soon. I was expecting more along the lines of early 2011, thus providing a long enough wait to where the plebes would’ve long forgotten, having by that time ended up with something more obvious, like the bottom falling out of the economy (again) or an instance of the inevitable Imperialism with a Happy Face facing its inevitable umpteenth failure right along with the garden variety kind.
-Obama’s zen-like chanting of “MUST.MOVE.FORWARD” as response to questions of what now…that does not surprise me. Remember, the point behind the actions of politicians is themselves, nothing more. Obama was thinking mere embarassment, which ought to dissappoint his supporters who, though some of the leftier of them shared my vision of arrest-trial-PMITA prison for the convicted, were naive enough to think it was a possibility, rather than knowing that it being a when pigs fly event is just yet more proof that laws are for little people — thus follows, the law is inherently bankrupt.
-This is what in particular is stuck in my head about this whole mess: there’s a stated sense that the torturers themselves shouldn’t be prosecuted because they were following orders that they were led to believe were legal. Now, obviously an institution like the CIA is unlikely to recruit people who question authority, so I’m inclined to a response of “eh, fuck ’em” if the possibility of trials didn’t occupy Magical Leftyland, though if forced at gunpoint to choose I’d rather the ones that gave those orders go down for it, if only because the reverse would lend itself to “a few bad apples” whitewashing. That said, two questions: if, hypothetically, a CIA operative were told to water-board someone and they refused, what would the punishment be? If they didn’t refuse, and were later charged, is there any daylight whatsoever for a legal theory that’d allow them to seek damages for the alleged legal order they followed getting them in trouble (think “I took your fucking order under false pretenses, you owe me!”)?