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Torture Apologists on Parade: WWF Smackdown Edition

I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t have much respect for Jesse Ventura. Mind you, I rooted for him when he won the Minnesota elections and became a governor – mostly because the media et al had been such dismissive fucks, and it was fun to see them shocked that a lowly wrestler from a third party was now chief executive of a state. But still, didn’t really consider him to be anything more than a showman.

Opinions can change in the face of evidence (unless you’re a Con or creationist, o’ course). And there is something glorious about watching a former pro-wrestler and Navy SEAL who survived Vietnam slam pro-torture wingnuts into the mat:

Jesse Ventura’s been making the rounds lately by taking on all comers on the issue of torture, which has left little quivering wingnuts like Joe Scarborough having to resort to attacking him out of his immediate presence.

Because as Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends found out this morning, doing so in person can be extremely unpleasant. Especially if you try pulling the lamestain right-wing crap we’ve gotten accustomed to, namely, accusing their interlocutors of not wanting to keep us safe, you’re not patriotic enough, blah blah blah.

That’s what Kilmeade tries pulling right off the bat, and it makes for possibly the best of the Ventura smackdowns yet:

Ventura: I have been waterboarded. It is torture. I can speak from experience. It was part of SERE training that I went through as a Navy SEAL.

Kilmeade: And are you OK now?

Ventura: I’m fine.

Kilmeade: So is Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He’s about 60 pounds overweight, having a great time —

Ventura: It doesn’t matter. If it was OK, then why don’t we do it to criminals? Like, if we’ve got gang members in L.A., OK? We know that their gangs are gonna do bad things. When we arrest them, why don’t we waterboard them so we can get information out of them? Because it’s against the law.

Kilmeade: Do you want us not to be safe from attack?

Ventura: Don’t come after me with that nonsense.

[Debate over its efficacy — “ticking time bomb”]

Ventura: OK, why didn’t we waterboard McVeigh and Nichols, then? There were more people that they thought involved at Oklahoma City. Why weren’t they waterboarded to get more information? Because it’s against the law.

Wait — and if we’re not going to be a country that goes by the rule of law when it’s convenient or not convenient, then what do we stand for?

But what about the difference — you bring up Timothy McVeigh and maybe gang members, and maybe those threats weren’t as imminent as the threats –

Ventura: I don’t think these threats are imminent.

You didn’t think after 9/11, that America felt threats were imminent, that more could be coming?

Ventura: Maybe. But I think our behavior has caused us to be in more trouble. Now they won’t release these photos. Why? Because they know the Muslim world will go irate. They’re all after Nancy Pelosi — when did she know? When dah dah dah — Well, if we hadn’t of tortured, it would be a dead issue, wouldn’t it?

Let’s go to the real issue: It’s called torture.

I think I’m in love.

No wonder Joe Scarborough was too shit-scared to have Jesse in the studio when he launched this ridiculous rant (h/t):

This is unbelievable. Joe Scarborough, who publicly lectured/tattled on me for not engaging in civilized debate, talking about Jesse Ventura:

“Perhaps Jesse should stop smoking whatever Jesse’s been smoking and keep his mouth shut about things he knows absolutely nothing about. This is a guy who, by the way — I must continue to say this — that got paid two million dollars by this network, did one show and sucked so bad that they sent him back to Minnesota and said “we never want to see you again.”

I wish I was that bad. Perhaps I am. Maybe they’ll fire me and I’ll take my money and go to Florida. […] Seriously, that’s the sort of stupidity — it’s just — it should seriously be a crime to be that dumb and on TV. [mocking Jesse’s voice] We only waterboard Muslims. Oh God.

Let’s bring in Rudy Giuliani. Former Republican mayor of New York City, former presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani. This seems like a great place to start. [begin douchey sarcastic voice] Why is it that people like Jesse Ventura are so concerned about how we treat people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Why is that?”

Jesse Ventura was a Navy Seal who survived the SERE program and served in Vietnam. He “knows nothing” about torture and war, Joe? And you do? That’s rich.

Isn’t it awesome how all these Yellow Elephants think they’re more expert than veterans? I notice Sean Hannity still hasn’t set a date for his waterboarding-for-charity. We’ll have to add a Scarborough-dissing-Ventura-to-his-face watch to our calendars.

Speaking of smackdowns, Marcy Wheeler’s compiled a handy little guide to the CIA’s briefing list errors. Cons keep whining about that awful Nancy Pelosi being soooo mean to the CIA. This list gives them a choice: either the CIA’s a bunch of lying asshats, or the CIA’s a bunch of bumbling buffoons who can’t even compile a simple list. My question for the Cons is, which explanation do they prefer?

And when will they demand Pete Hoekstra apologize for impugning the CIA’s integrity?

Hoekstra’s repeated objections to Pelosi accusing the CIA of having lied to Congress is quite odd given the fact that he’s made nearly identical claims on multiple occasions. As Marcy Wheeler first noted, Hoekstra wrote a letter to President Bush in 2006 accusing the intelligence community of withholding information on their activities from Congress. “I have learned of some alleged Intelligence Community activities about which our committee has not been briefed,” Hoekstra wrote. He said that he believed the Bush administration’s failure to fully brief his committee could constitute “a violation of law“:

hoekstra_letter

Similarly, in 2007, Hoekstra described a closed-door briefing by representatives from the intelligence community (including CIA) on the National Intelligence Estima
te of Iran’s nuclear capability, saying that the members “
didn’t find [the briefers] forthcoming.” More recently, in November 2008, Hoekstra concluded that the CIA “may have been lying or concealing part of the truth” in testimony to Congress regarding a 2001 incident in which the CIA mistakenly killed an American citizen in Peru. “We cannot have an intelligence community that covers up what it does and then lies to Congress,” Hoekstra said of the incident.

My goodness, Pete. Who would have ever guessed you’re a ginormous fucking hypocrite? What a shock.

Why, it’s almost as shocking as learning the CIA would lie to cover their asses, and that torture apologists can get totally pwnd by a former SEAL. If you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go to the hospital. I believe I’m having a heart attack from not surprised.