Torture Apologists On Parade


As the “debate” on torture drags on and on (and on and on and on), it’s gone from merely disgusting to completely absurd. We’re seeing displays of outrage by people who are so morally corrupt that – well, it can’t be described, only demonstrated.

For instance, Cons believe that releasing photos of torture is wrong:

On April 23, the Obama administration announced it would release hundreds of photos of detainee interrogation, obeying a court order from a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Predictably, conservatives furious with the Obama administration’s attempt at greater transparency denounced the move. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) wrote to President Obama asking him not to release the photos because they could inflame potential terrorists:


The release of these old photographs of past behavior that has now clearly been prohibited will serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations, hurt our country’s image, and endanger our men and women in uniform.

[snip]

Today, Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President, decried the move as “appalling,” saying in a Fox News interview that the decision was proof Obama was aiming to “side with the terrorists”:

CHENEY: Clearly what they are doing is releasing images that show American military men and women in a very negative light. And I have heard from families of service members, from families of 9/11 victims, this question about, you know, when did it become so fashionable for us to side, really,with the terrorists?

Note, it’s just the photos they object to. The torture itself is hunky-dory. They do not subscribe to the idea that “The photos of torture aren’t the root of the problem. After all — if you don’t torture, you don’t have torture photos.” To them, it’s unthinkable we stop torturing:

In fact, Huckabee defended the utility of waterboarding within 30 seconds of agreeing with Hannity that Obama’s release of interrogation photos was “hurting our nation’s defenses.”

And Liz Cheney thinks that a thin wallpaper of inane legal memos is all it takes to magically turn toture into a-okay interrogation techniques:

Robinson: I do not think that’s the case. Torture is a war crime. It is a war crime.

Cheney: That’s right. And this wasn’t torture. Those legal memos demonstrated where the line was, and where it would become torture.

Robinson: Waterboarding was torture during the Spanish Inquisition, it was torture when Pol Pot did it, and I believe it was torture when we did it. But that –

It quickly devolves into crosstalk, and Cheney spends a lot of time filibustering with her talking points, but she never is able to effectively respond to Robinson’s chief point: Legal paperwork is not adequate cover for committing torture, one of the most heinous of all crimes.

But, of course, Cons inhabit their own reality, which isn’t the same thing as actual reality. In their reality, it isn’t torture that recruits the terrorists (despite their cries that photos of torture recruit terrorists) – it’s the lack of torture that really brings in the bombers:

As conservatives continue to rally around torture, Karl Rove last night praised Dick Cheney for his “reasoned, thoughtful series of observations” about how President Obama has made the U.S. less safe. He also conjectured that ending the practice of torture will provide al Qaeda with a great “tool” to help them recruit new terrorists:

ROVE: Taking, for example, the memoranda about the enhanced interrogation techniques and making them public has been a value to our enemy. It has served, frankly, I think, as a recruiting tool. They can now take these memoranda and go to prospective, you know, recruits and say, This is the worst that the enemy, the United States, would ever do to you, and they’ve even forsworn these things. We can help you, prepare you to deal with these things, but even the enemy is so weak they’re not going to use these techniques on you. And it’s given them a tool to make it more attractive to recruit people, and you know, this kind of thing is harmful to us over the long haul.

Um… no. But thanks for playing, Karl.

In a shining example of just how idiotic our media’s become, check out who’s got hisself a columnist gig:

You may have heard the news that the Philadelphia Inquirer has given infamous torture memo author John Yoo a contract to write a monthly column for the paper. A bunch of folks, understandably, have already registered their objections to the hire.

The Inquirer has defended the decision by arguing that Yoo is “knowledgeable” about legal subjects, which has “promoted further discourse, which is the objective of newspaper commentary.”

But there’s another dimension to the story that’s also worth noting. Yoo is using his platform for more than just writing opinion columns.

Indeed, he actually used his newspaper gig to attack his political opponents — tho
se who are pushing for a torture probe — at a time when government officials were mulling whether to investigate those who created the torture program, including him.

The Inquirer thinks it’s fine to give such an opportunity to a torture architect because, and I quote editor Harold Jackson’s email to Greg Sargent:

The Inquirer in its editorials has been a consistent voice against the torture (and we do call it torture) that occurred during the Bush administration. Just as we also consistently opposed that administration’s domestic spying program.

Somehow, they think this makes everything okay. I fail to see how.

It’s only a matter of time before Yoo’s column contains a dumbshit statement like “waterboarding isn’t torture cuz we’re not actually drowning people” or “it’s not torture because we do it to our own troops!” This is a popular argument on the right. Let’s hear (once again) from an expert in such matters:

One of the most repeated lines from conservatives in the debate over interrogations is that waterboarding is not torture because it is performed on U.S. troops as part of training. Yesterday on CNN’s Larry King Live, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura — a former Navy SEAL who has been waterboarded — poured cold water on this talking point, saying that waterboarding is in fact “drowning.” Ventura said he could waterboard Vice President Cheney and get him to admit to anything:

KING: You were a Navy SEAL.

VENTURA: That’s right. I was water boarded, so I know — at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion. It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence — every one of us was water boarded. It is torture.

KING: What was it like?

VENTURA: It’s drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I’ll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.

If waterboarding isn’t torture, I don’t see how Cheney could have any problem allowing Ventura to put this proposition to the test. And I’m sure he will – just as soon as Sean Hannity manages to fit his own waterboarding into his busy schedule. Right, Sean?

Sean?

Funny. He appears to have run away. Strange how they come over all cowardly when it’s time to put up or shut up, innit?

Comments

  1. says

    I’m not going to hold my breath for a response here, but just in case…If you want torture investigations, truth commissions, etc then are you okay with them going all the way back to 1947 when the CIA was founded?

  2. says

    I have a counter-proposal, Mike, why don’t we start at the point where America’s leaders openly violated the law to perform torture. Oh, wait, that’s 2001. No Democratic Presidents fit that definition yet.

  3. says

    No, my implication is that they openly violated the law. They bragged about it. Nothing happened, except that Congress tried to pass laws that made it all legal. They made it OK for the government to imprison people without trial and torture them. The government can now do whatever it wants to whomever it wants, as far as it’s concerned. All they have to do is say you’re a terrorist.

  4. says

    I’ve no problem with them going all the way back. Why should I? Everyone who tortures should get what’s coming to them. Why shouldn’t they?