Is Barack Obama reading blogs, particularly the site of one of his campaign's most committed supporters, Andrew Sullivan?
At his press conference on Wednesday evening, the president defended his decision to end the use of torture on detainees, by citing an article he had recently read, in which it was noted that during World War II, Winston Churchill refused to use such tactics on the spies captured by the British.
"I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees," said Obama. "And Churchill said, 'We don't torture,' when the entire British -- all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat."
Which article he was referencing was a mystery to both the press corps and members of Obama's own communications team who, in the minutes after the press conference, professed to being in the dark.
Challenged to do some digging, the Huffington Post's Marcus Baram found what seemed to be the right match.
On April 23, Sullivan, a native of England himself, penned a post titled: "Churchill vs Cheney." In it, the Atlantic scribe noted that despite having "captured over 500 enemy spies operating in Britain and elsewhere," and having his country's "very survival [hanging] in the balance," Churchill "knew that embracing torture was the equivalent of surrender to the barbarism he was fighting."
Asked whether the Sullivan post was, in fact, the point of reference for Obama's remarks, aides to the president did not immediately return request for comment. But the similarities are certainly suggestive.
Important to note, however, is how Sullivan ended his article by declaring: "Torture is the weapon of cowards and bullies and monsters. Cheney is all three. Prosecute him."
Obama, who has shied away from the topic of prosecution (indeed, stated his preference not to "look back"), left that bit out.
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