Monday, August 18, 2008

Exploited By Zealots & Fools

Last of 25 excerpts from The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer:
By the last year of the Bush presidency, growing numbers of former administration insiders had abandoned the government with the conviction that in waging the war against terrorism, America had lost its way. Many had fought valiantly to right what they saw as a dangerously wrong turn. With Bush, Cheney and Addington still firmly in power, it was hard to declare their efforts a success. Still, with change in the air, there was a sense that history might be on their side. . . .

Alberto Mora left the administration as a pariah in the eyes of some Pentagon colleagues but was given the John F. Kennedy Foundation's Profiles in Courage Award for speaking out. Most of the FBI agents who opposed "enhanced" interrogations techniques retired and joined private security firms, taking vast amounts of wisdom about Islamic terrorism with them.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, Phillip Zelikow, who returned to teaching history at the University of Virginia, tried to take stock. In time, he predicted, the Bush Administration's descent into torture would be seen as akin to Roosevelt's internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It happened, he believed, in much the same way, for many of the same reasons. As he put it, "Fear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools."
Copyright 2008 by Jane Mayer. All Rights Reserved

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