As William Ranney Levi has demonstrated, interrogation policy under President Bush did not represent a significant break with the post World War II interrogation policies of the United States. But there was one major change, though not of Bush’s making. The liberal mainstream media chose to reveal whatever it could about U.S. interrogation practices, and the political opposition (along with a few Republicans like Lindsey Graham) tried to convince the public that the administration was betraying America’s values. The Dems did this even though their congressional leaders had been briefed about the interrogation practices in question and had not objected.
The MSM and the Democrats acted this way because they hoped to inflict damage on a president they despised. It turned out, however, that Bush’s approach to protecting the country from terrorists remained pretty much the only set of his policies Americans approved of.
If President Obama is right, however, the ongoing concerted MSM/Democratic attack on Bush (for employing methods in line with past U.S. practice and deemed unobjectionable by Democratic leaders) did have an effect — it significantly damaged the nation’s standing in the eyes of “the world.”
UPDATE: According to Eli Lake, in a story in yesterday’s Washington Times, one Democratic leader did raise concerns about Bush interrogation policy. Ironically, that Democrat was Jane Harman, foe of Speaker Pelosi (who did not raise concerns) and of the Democratic left (which is to say its mainstream).