“…our moral compass…”

“…reclaiming America’s soul…”

Krugman takes our oh-so-resilient national soul to the cleaners and discovers that oceans of bloodstains will wash right out with a gesture towards shallow introspection, some tongue-clucking, head-shaking, and well-I-never-ing. And don’t forget the historical amnesia! Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

“My fellow Americans, the last 50 years have been an uninterrupted sequence of dark, painful chapters. We institutionalized torture right after World War II and we exported it everywhere we could, from Vietnam to Greece to Iran to Latin America. We remember the Phoenix program; we remember the multibillion-dollar CIA torture project in the 50s; we remember El Mozote; we remember the CIA torture manual, KUBARK, and its wise recommendation, “The electric current should be known in advance”; we remember our training of SAVAK; we remember the School of the Americas; we remember our Salvadoran trainees who raped and killed nuns. The one thing we don’t remember is if there were ever a time when we didn’t teach and practice torture.

“The only difference this time is that top government lawyers were dumb enough to authorize this crap in writing. I promise to return to the good old days when torture was conducted in an environment of plausible deniability. And so I’m ordering a transfer of Gitmo prisoners to Bagram, an Afghan hellhole no one can locate on a map. I am banning all torture memos. Memos are bad. I solemnly swear that CIA personnel will be granted full immunity regarding all past, present, and future crimes. Let’s close this dark, painful chapter, so we can open a brand-new dark, painful chapter — so dark none of you will see it.”

Could we just simply talk about obeying laws because it’s what a nation of laws does by definition? Could we simply talk about doing the right thing because, well, it’s the right thing to do, tautology be damned? Does it always have to be about us and our goddamned feelings? Can we just stop with the endless need to couple our brief forays into introspection with the self-centered need to praise ourselves for doing so? Do we have to stick our fat, greasy American thumb into the frame of every picture?

I have a feeling this is going to become an enduring theme here: stupid fucking progressives who are just as deeply invested in our national mythology of being a shining city on a hill as any reactionary right-winger. I would like to go back in time and torture the shit out of the Puritans for gifting us with this theme that simply will. not. die.