From "To Hell With Them" hawks to "Christians for Torture"

There's plenty of room in the big tent.

By Tim Grieve
March 23, 2006 9:52PM (UTC)
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For all the talk about disarray among Democrats, it sure has been interesting to watch the Republicans fracture and divide as they find that they don't particularly want George W. Bush to be unitin' them anymore.

We checked in yesterday on the "To Hell With Them" hawks, an apparently growing league of Republicans who believe -- at least in retrospect -- that the United States should have gone to war with Iraq just long enough to overthrow Saddam Hussein and then left the Iraqis alone to deal with the vacuum that resulted. The National Review's John Derbyshire laid out the "To Hell With Them" vision about as clearly as you can: "Strike out at those who insult us and harm our interests -- preemptively, when we believe we have cause. Do so without apology or regret. Only do so, however, with punitive or monitory intent, or to remove some plain visible threat (e.g. nuclear-weapon plants), and do not stay around to get involved. "


Now Andrew Sullivan introduces us to another new tribe in the big tent: Christians for Torture. Crunching the numbers on a recent Pew poll, Sullivan discovers that 57 percent of the people who describe themselves as "secular" say that torture is either never or rarely justified. Only 49 percent of white Protestants and only 42 percent of Roman Catholics are similarly torture-averse. "In other words," Sullivan says, "if you are an American Christian, you are more likely to support torture than if you are an atheist or agnostic." Sullivan -- who has been grapplingof late with his own feelings of "shame and sorrow" for errors along the way to Iraq -- calls Christians for Torture "a new constituency" and "another part of the Bush legacy."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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