Friday, February 08, 2008

The White House's Perverse Argument


Waterboarding Torture
Demonstrated at UC Berkeley

You be the judge.

Condoleezza Rice.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States does not permit or tolerate the torture of any terrorists detained in its custody.

Dim Son him own self.
President Bush on Friday defended his administration's methods of interrogating terrorism suspects, insisting, "This government does not torture people."

Mitch McConnell.
"The United States does not engage in torture. We do use enhanced interrogation techniques," McConnell said.

Ah, but...
Waterboarding has been condemned internationally as a form of illegal torture, and McConnell was quoted in the current issue of The New Yorker magazine as saying he would consider the practice torture if it were applied to him [see last link].

Mike Mukasey.
Days after refusing to rule out the use of waterboarding, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has attacked congressional Democrats, calling the investigations of torture a violation of basic privacy rights [Privacy rights? Ya gotta be shitting me.].

We don’t consider anything we do to be torture, and I find the Democrats’ inquiries a distasteful intrusion into people’s private conduct,” Mukasey said today on the “Jerry Springer” public affairs television program.

Did you catch that? On "Jerry Springer"? So fucking professional. What's next? An appearance on American fucking Idol?

Ah, but...
When you get right down to it, the White House's new argument in favor of waterboarding is that the ends justify the means.

The White House line: Yes, we did it, but only to three chief terrorists [bullshit alert!], and only when we thought the nation was in imminent danger. We got life-saving information in return. And so we'd do it again in similar circumstances. (See yesterday's column for more.)

Putting aside for a moment the question of whether the ends did in fact justify the means -- and there is considerable evidence that the waterboarding of those three men miserably failed that test as well -- the White House argument is deeply perverse and goes against core American values.

Waterboarding is undeniably cruel. It is undeniably an assault on human dignity. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution -- the one banning cruel and unusual punishment -- doesn't come with an asterisk indicating: Except when you think it's really, really important.

It's true that on TV, the ticking time bomb scenarios are crystal clear, being tough means using torture, and torture always works. But none of those things are remotely true in the real world. Which is why we have rules that we're supposed to follow, even in emergencies.

And even on the twisted terms the White House is advocating, the evidence suggests that the ends in this case did not justify the means. The White House asks us to believe that in this case it was worth it. But despite all the generalized assertions that countless lives have been saved by the CIA's interrogation program, Bush and his aides -- as I wrote in my Dec. 11 column-- have yet to offer a concrete case where intelligence produced by torture saved a single life. To the contrary, as I wrote in October, Bush has repeatedly cited examples of thwarted attacks that turned out to be wildly exaggerated.

Finally, the White House argues that waterboarding is legal because the Justice Department said so. But waterboarding is flatly, objectively illegal -- according to both U.S. and international law. Try to find one independent expert to tell you otherwise. And, despite their heated assertions, no one in the White House or at the Justice Department has yet to provide a single vaguely reasonable argument to support their position. All those legal briefs are conveniently considered top secret.

Bottom line is: Waterboarding is torture and the fucking Bush administration admits its permitted and actually used. Compassionate conservatives? Give me a fucking break.

Via WaPo.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ted Compton said...

And, hey, not to be picky here, but is anybody asking this Mukasey since when military interrogation, "enhanced" or otherwise, is "private conduct"?

And these are the guys who strut around with American flags in their lapels: They are a disgrace. And nothing H about that O.

2/08/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger SPIIDERWEB™ said...

No one does. They report it as though commenting about a child eating a donut.

They are disgracing this nation and no one seems to care.

2/08/2008 11:44:00 AM  

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