If you want a sense of how sick the torture debate in the United States has become, look no further than Robert Alt’s argument in the LA Times that we can’t investigate perpetrators of past interrogation abuses because it might have a “chilling effect.” But the chilling effect is a feature, not a bug, of investigations. When you set up an intelligence agency authorized to operate in secret, you’re creating a large potential abuse problem. Add a panicky national atmosphere and George W. Bush and next thing you know we’re torturing people.
What would be wanted to prevent this would be, you know, a chilling effect. A little bit of the old “I see what you’re saying boss, but that’s illegal!” This is what we have laws for. Meanwhile, read Chris Hayes on “The Secret Government”.