Tag Archives: waterboarding

My Days of Fire review is now up

I took a look at New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker’s new book, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House:

Baker, in his acknowledgments, hopes that readers comprehend “the value in attempting a neutral history of a White House about which almost no one is neutral.” But here he stumbles down the well-worn path of journalists like his colleague (and former Times executive editor) Bill Keller, whose tired defense of reportorial objectivity masks, time and again, their own inevitable — precisely because they are human, not because they are flawed — prejudices.

Chief among Baker’s faux neutralities is his characterization of the CIA’s brutal interrogations, which he fastidiously avoids calling torture. At one point, Baker describes the methodology as “the interrogation program that many called torture.” Elsewhere, a National Security Council press secretary refused to defend “the interrogation program many considered torture.” Later on, Baker writes that Bush “pared back the harsh interrogation techniques that critics called torture,” echoing his earlier characterization of waterboarding as a practice that (ostensibly subjectively) “was deemed torture by the rest of the world.”

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