On the psychology of the George W. Bush administration. I believe he is correct:
Paul Krugman: Shadow of the Torturers: After reading John Yoo’s attack on the president for not taking Osama alive and bringing him to Gitmo, I thought I might take a minute to explain something I sometimes say. Once in a while I mention, in passing, that the Bush administration saw torturing people as a plus, not a cost. And whenever I do, some readers clutch their breasts and reach for the smelling salts: how dare I say such a thing? But it’s true — not because they’re sadists, but because it suited their self-image.
From day one of the War on Terror (TM), it was clear that the Bush people reveled in the notion that they were tough guys, willing to Do What Needs to be Done. They were all wannabe Kiefer Sutherlands. Far from showing qualms about suspending the rule of law and using torture to extract information, they obviously enjoyed the idea that they were willing to go all the way, unlike those wimpy liberals. Of course, they never admitted that, probably not even to themselves. But did you ever see the slightest hint of reluctance or discomfort? Or did you see tremendous self-satisfaction as the acts became ever more abusive?
And so they are, inevitably, deeply upset that someone who isn’t a tough guy by their standards seems to be doing a better job of getting the terrorists than they did.