I love words, as you know. Why use one word when ten will do? That said, I have two words for the ‘debate’ surrounding the ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ we employed at Gitmo and other prisons.
There can be no debate.
The right says, “But it works!” Then, the left gets derailed into whether it actually worked or not. No, no, no, we say. It’s specifically designed to elicit false confessions. I mean, who wouldn’t make up shit to get the pain to stop? We go on the defense, trying to refute the meme that torture works (only on the show 24, apparently), until we lose sight of the original argument.
We are America. We do not torture.
The right says, “But waterboarding was only used on three people! The three most heineous criminals evah!” Then, the left says, “Yeah, and we had to waterboard one of them a hundred and something times. That really works, doesn’t it?”
We are America. We do not torture. Or at least, we say we don’t torture.
The right says, “Come on, what’s a little sleep deprivation and loud music? I mean, are you saying we can’t do anything to make the prisoners uncomfortable?” The left tries to explain why sleep deprivation in and of itself is a big thing (and believe me, as a lifelong sufferer of bad sleep, I know that not getting sleep is detrimental to the psyche, not to mention the motor skills) or how when paired with stress positions, sensory deprivation, and forced nakedness, it can really do mental, and sometimes physical harm.
We are America. We do not torture. Or at least, we say we don’t torture. And yet, we have American cops using Tasers on suspects, and this is considered harmless. But people have died from being tasered.
The right says, “Put a guy into a box and drop an insect on him? That’s torture?” The left points out the book, 1984, and try to explain how this guy had a phobia of insects. I mean, my dad has a snake phobia that is so bad, he can’t even look at a picture of a snake. Yeah, locking him up in a box with garter snake would constitute psychological torture. See, there I go, trying to explain what apparently is not explainable to the right.
We are America. We do not torture. Or, at least, we say we don’t torture. Then again, we also say we cherish our children, but it seems as if spare the rod and spoil the child is coming back into fashion. In one particularly interesting hour of NPR programming, they talked about the use of physical restraints on children with emotional disturbances. In addition, Digby has a disturbing, yet, must-read piece on the increasing acceptance of using physical punishment on children as a way to mold them to more amenable behavior.
You know what? Fuck the right. Seriously. I am sick to death about debating whether or not torture is acceptable. Really. It has come to that in America. It’s gotten so bad that some of the far rightwingnutters, via Balloon Juice this time, say that Jesus would have waterboarded because, you know, he died for our sins. WTF? Jesus was the ultimate Dirty Fucking Hippie. He hung out with the untouchables, probably had a thing going with Mary Magdalene, told whomever to turn the other cheek, and chose to die himself for us. He did not say to the other two men hanging on crosses to the side of him, “Listen up, bitches, we’re getting off this thing and beating the shit out of Pontius Pilate.” Although, if Jesus is anything like the Jesus portrayed in post #55 of that thread (h/t, EKIM), he might have done just that.
We are America. We DO fucking torture. We shouldn’t, but we do, and apparently, we are ok with that.
It shows how emasculated the right has become that they have to spout this macho bullshit to make them feel better about themselves. They’re tough, like the President of Texas, Chuck Norris, and they are ready to kick some ass whine and pout about how those big, bad terrorists need to be waterboarded, but we can’t keep them in the USA because they are omigod! super-evil like Magneto! No prison can hold him! Wait, this isn’t an episode of X-Men, otherwise, Wolverine would be around to kick some ass and rip up some guts with his adamantine claws. Why yes, I’m a Wolverine fangrrl, why do you ask?
Sean Hannity agreed to be waterboarded for charity (well, he was backed into a corner by Charles Grodin, but still), and Keith Olbermann quickly said he would give a thousand dollar to the families of the troops per second of waterboarding that Hannity could withstand. To this day, not a peep out of Hannity about undergoing it. Or Rush, either. Not that he offered, but he also says he doesn’t think it’s torture.
As I have reported before, Christopher Hitchens actually underwent waterboarding and called it torture. He did it twice. Here is the video of the first time he went under. He was an unabashed supporter of the war beforehand and thought he could withstand a the waterboarding. He lasted under ten seconds, I believe, and he still suffers from the aftermath. Anyway, now, a radio shock jock named Eric Mancow (yes, that’s a fake last name) decided to undergo the ordeal as well in order to prove it wasn’t torture. His situation was much more relaxed as he joked about it with his ‘torturer’. He lasted under ten seconds as well. There was a Playboy guy who did it as well, but you’ll have to look him up because he annoyed me.
They all said it was torture. It was fucking torture. However, I agree with those who think the focus on the waterboarding itself is a shame because we did so much more than that. On the otherhand, the waterboarding is the handy symbol of torture.
So. I issue a challenge to Hannity and Limbaugh and especially that asshole, Glenn Beck. I will allow myself to be waterboarded, knowing full well that it’s torture, if all three of you allow yourselves to be waterboarded as well, claiming that it isn’t. How about it, boys? Gonna let a mere girl show you up?
P.S. There are many on the left who want to get away from this issue because they think the very fact that we know what happened is enough. Wrong. People like Cheney learned from people like Nixon, and unless we take a stand against them, there will be a Cheney clone (perhaps his daughter) who will be emboldened by what Cheney and his ilk did and go several steps further. This is not about the past. This is about the future.