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Excuses, Excuses

Friday, Apr. 24, 2009 4:11 AM

From the Say What? Department (with a cross-promotion with our partners at the What The Fuck?!?! Store), MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell interviewing Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz, on the subject of torture.

She has a clearance? Access to critical intelligence? Hello? Why is she even involved in this discussion?
Was Daddy too busy to drop by and regale us with tales of how torture saved us all and kept us safe?

One of the latest arguments in favor of torture is that we subject our soldiers to waterboarding in SERE training, therefore, it can't be torture.

Except the objective of SERE (Survival-Evasion-Resistance-Escape) is to simulate the real-world conditions and stress a soldier can expect if caught behind enemy lines. Waterboarding is used because it is a form of torture that does not result in lasting physical injury/disability - such as when the VietCong broke John McCain's arms.

If it does not serve the purpose of simulating the stress of captivity and interrogation under pain of death, then it is effectively useless, and neither our troops nor the terrorists should require special training.

Another argument is that Khalid Sheik Mohammed wasn't actually waterboarded 183 times in one month, because that figure is based on how many times water was actually poured, not actual interrogation sessions.

I wasn't aware the Geneva Conventions had an 'allowable amount' of abuse before it qualified as torture.

Then, there's the old standard: Bill Clinton did it, too. (And Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, and FDR ordered the Japanese Internment, so should we have impeached them?)

None of which construe legal precedent, only historical context.

And I don't know about the architects of this affair, but the standard parental advice when I was young and tried to justify bad behavior by citing someone else doing the same, "And if Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you do that, too?"

Then there's GOP Chair Michael Steele spinning remarks by House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, who used the word 'torture' to describe waterboarding.

Steele said Boehner was 'just using the liberals' verbiage' and insisted that 'The U.S. doesn't torture.'

No, Mr. Steele, we're using the verbiage set forth in law. You remember the concept of the 'rule of law,' don't you?

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