George H. W. Bush wanted to be remembered as the "education president." I don't know if he achieved that goal, but it was a worthy one.
His son, George W. Bush, apparently wants to be remembered as the "torture president."
God only knows how president Jenna Bush will want to be remembered. The "nuclear winter" president? The "mass extermination" president? "President-for-life Bush?"
One only has to look at the record of executions in Texas while Bush was governor there, and the glee he took in them, to realize that he's not exactly claiming the moral high ground (well, he claims it, he just doesn't live up to the claim). Now we're at a point where members of the United States Congress are actually discussing just how much torture is acceptable.
Of course, our torturers can't do their job without proper medical supervision--they're trained at "interrogation," not medicine. So doctors have to toss aside their Hippocratic Oath and help out. According to the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine, they are willing to do so on a pretty regular basis.
In opposing torture so publicly, Colin Powell makes some headway at regaining credibility he lost while testifying so forcefully on behalf of a known pack of lies, during the lead-up to Iraq. He still has a long way to go, since so many lives were pointlessly lost (and continue to be lost) in that adventure. But he's making baby steps.
John McCain is also making baby steps. He knows that when election time 2008 comes around, no one is going to point to him and say "John McCain is against torture! He hates America!" So he can lead the fight in the Senate against changing the Geneva Conventions. It would be more convincing if he had ever taken on Bush about his "signing statement" on the occasion of signing the McCain sponsored anti-torture legislation last year, but since he didn't, giving Bush carte blanche to ignore the legislation at will, he comes across now as a little disingenuous at best.
The America I grew up in wasn't a place where the government condoned torture, much less resorted to extreme legal wrangling to justify it (after the fact--the 14 people it was used on have already told us everything they're going to, and we're not capturing premium al Qaeda targets with any regularity whatsoever anymore). I can barely believe we're having this conversation.
It wasn't al Qaeda that forced it on us. It was George Bush. We all know al Qaeda hates America... is there any doubt now that Bush does too?