Well, the Senate’s Torture Report has come out just in time for Christmas and, I have to say, it’s pretty clear who’s been naughty. Of all the species on Earth, human beings and cats seem to be the only ones who take delight in torturing their victims just for the sheer and unadulterated fun of it. Because all this blather about, “We had to do it in order to prevent another attack like 9/11 . . .” I’m sorry. Give me a break. There were those among us . . . are still those among us who would like nothing more than to yank out a few fingernails and roast something other than chestnuts on an open fire . . . and George Bush and Dick Cheney gave them the green light and a black site in which to do just that. And so much more. You thought nothing could top the Inquisition? Think again. American ingenuity at its worst.
Unfortunately human beings come by this bloody mindedness naturally. I mean, what Canadian kid has not thrilled to the ritual torments inflicted on Jean de Brébeuf by the dastardly Iroquois? And what rustles up a crowd faster than a good burning at the stake? As an adult I fantasized about burying in sand up to his chin a certain little shit in my daughter’s play group because of the way he treated her, dousing him with honey and liberating an ant farm in his vicinity (see my post Nice on the Outside).Thanks to my better angels, that same little shit is now thirty three years old and not having to relive on a psychiatrist’s couch the horror inflicted on him by Sabrina’s mother. Better angels – we all have them. It’s just that some of us have tuned them out and turned the dial, instead, to right wing talk radio and the pack of slathering hyenas that is Fox News.
Torture is central to Christianity, by which I mean that Christianity would not exist in the way that it does had Christ himself not be grievously tortured; by any measure, crucifixion is no picnic. One of the sins he allegedly died for was his fellow human beings’ propensity to torture. You’d think a country that vaunts itself as a Christian nation would eschew torture and, yet, just watch the right wing nuts line up to defend the practice. “What if it was your husband or child whose life was at stake?” they bloviate. To which I counter, “What would Christ do?” Because my money’s on him turning the other cheek. Then again our “Christian” nation routinely murders people in the name of the State, are best pals with the money changers in the Temple and suffer the little children to get mowed down with Bushmaster M4 Type Carbines because . . . Second Amendment Rights! What could be more sacred? A war on the poor, that’s just fine. A war on Christmas? Unconscionable!
There is nothing to indicate that sleep deprivation and water boarding were able to extract any better intelligence than regular old Geneva Convention sanctioned interrogation techniques. Indeed, there is some evidence that the information it produces is worse. People who will say anything to make the pain stop tend to do just that — say anything. And anything is, more often than not, useless. (And there was no ticking time bomb. Those who think there was are confusing reality with the television series 24, which is not surprising, since most right wingers appear to have lost touch with reality a long time ago.)
Finally there’s the little question of ethics, to which I can only say (finally!)”God bless John McCain!” He managed to wriggle free of the Faustian bargain (you remember the one: when he sold his soul down the River Styx for a chance to be POTUS) long enough to tell us what he is uniquely qualified to know: that torture is wrong and that we’re better than that (although, it would seem, not much.)
As for whether Enhanced Interrogation Techniques do not, in fact, equate to torture, as Dick Cheney maintains, perhaps he’d be willing to endure a few EITs himself to demonstrate how vanilla they actually are.
I’d like to start with a little rectal feeding.
How about some holiday turkey? Who wants a leg?