The Best Idea for 2014 was requiring police to wear body cameras. This idea was so good it actually cut across the lines of the protestors and the supporters of police. Many on both sides of that divide support the idea, for what boils down to the same reason: the camera doesn't lie.
It's time for gift-giving and year-end celebrations, so take our latest Week to Week news quiz and see who's giving what to whom.
I happened to see Angelina Jolie's Unbroken before I read the Laura Hillenbrand book about the life of the amazing Louis Zamperini. My guest for an ...
"All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights..." We may not live this creed every day; surely we have fallen short. But to deliberately betray it, especially for gains which are "unknowable," is a betrayal of our very identity as a nation.
The Heathrow plot is among the clearest. Heathrow is certainly a prestigious target -- the IRA fired mortars onto runways during a series of attacks in 1994 -- but the CIA didn't prevent an attack on the airport by torturing information out of prisoners.
10 years after the first revelations of torture appeared in the media, my dissertation long since bound in obscurity in my school's library, and not only are the revelations still coming, there is only now the first hint of a real investigation into the specific role psychologists played in this process.
One of NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcell's more oft-used quotes is: "You are what your record says you are." That doesn't just apply to sports teams. Team America's record of late has not been of the champion of the values we say define who we are and what we're about. Our record says more about our real identity more than the one we imagine.
Some political events mark their importance less by their content than by their timing, circumstances and presentation. That is the case for the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture. It contains little new to the attentive observer and none of that is of major consequence.
All the hullaballoo over the United States government's' use of torture as an officially-sanctioned intelligence gathering process was bad enough. It brought back memories of a shameful period in American history. But when Dick Cheney reappeared to defend the practice of torture, it was the worst specter of Christmas past.
From the report on torture we can draw three lessons. The first is a terrible one, but the other two are encouraging. The first thing the report teaches us is that it is possible for the most prominent intelligence agency of the world's most powerful democracy to commit torture on a large scale
Loath as we are to admit it, there was no single Biggest Winner Of 2014, because the award must be handed, collectively, to the Republican Party. A case could be made for Mitch McConnell, since he will win the biggest prize of any Republican next year: control of the United States Senate.
With every protest, now, is a clear and hopeful war cry: We will be heard. We will not be dismissed.
Mr. Obama, in ruling out prosecution for torture, may have thought he spared us bother, but actually he did us harm. By casting accountability into limbo, he makes possible government-sponsored torture in the future and prevents America from recovering the thing most precious: our good name.
In the end, the question remains not one of torture, nor even one of truth, but one of lasting consequences. Not for the victims and the perpetrators, but for citizens of large democracies.
2014 was a landmark year in false confessions. Here's my year-end list of highlights.