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How Tough Are They?

Torture Tough!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 13, 2009.

Fun days for the residue of the Bush Administration, which deserves it all. Famed media Chicken Hawk and GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough recently and quite stupidly volunteered to be waterboarded on television to show it isn’t torture or, really, such a big deal. But somehow he hasn’t yet allowed it, despite a line of people who have themselves volunteered to administer it, including his MSNBC peer Keith Olbermann who has offered to charity $10k for every minute Scarborough could stand it. Then, Jesse Ventura, a former SEAL and Minnesota Governor, recently allowed on Larry King that he could make Dick Cheney, another and far more disgusting Chicken Hawk, confess to the Sharon Tate murders within an hour if allowed to do the waterboarding. He was waterboarded himself in training. He knows of what he speaks.

As usual, this Great Torture Debate has gotten confused because of the failure to establish a Glossary of Terminology, which our media should insist upon and never does. We have some people saying torture works because it breaks down the recipient, and some saying it does not work because the recipient will say anything to make it stop. We have people saying waterboarding is torture, and others claiming it is not.

The easiest first. Even though called the water cure for centuries past, and even used before and during the Inquisition, waterboarding has a long established history as recognized torture. In this nation, there is much written proof since the Spanish American War that waterboarding was acknowledged as torture by military and government. At one point the United States, on its famous ethical high horse, lectured the European powers about the horror of its use in their colonies. Then, when confronted with a guerilla war in the Philippines, our new colony, we started using it ourselves to find out who and where our enemy was, to the general hilarity of our fellow Imperialists, and Mark Twain and Tom Reed seethed and wept. The fact that the Navy trains its special forces about waterboarding shows they know it’s both effective and that it is torture.

Dick Cheney has dared the Obama Administration to reveal all the CIA memos regarding torture, some of which he claims prove that it worked in obtaining good information. That’s possible, but the examples so far suggested don’t prove it. Cheney is prepared to claim that revealing the memos to damn the Bushies for political benefit would also be a betrayal of National Security, so he’s playing hard ball. But the circle constricts, and he’s currently hiding behind his two worthless daughters who shill his innocence on talk shows. Torture has been against the law in this nation forever, waterboarding is torture, and Cheney and the neo-con Bushies have all admitted we waterboarded with the approval of everyone from Bush on down. There is no getting around that. Ventura wants everyone guilty of allowing it to be prosecuted, and this for the quaint notion that it’s against the law. And Ventura, whatever else, is not a lefty arugula muncher. He was a SEAL.

There is a great deal of confusion about what all this proves. To me, it is proof positive that the neo-cons and Bushies are a bunch of third rates, who needed to exercise for their own thrills the possibilities mental derangement allowed them, just like sadistic fraternity pledge masters, Marine drill instructors, the sexually impotent, and that majority of unaccomplished men who want to be tough like the Alpha males. You know: The ones with the lapel pins. That much of the photographed Abu Graib horror was performed by a company of US Army maids and clerks unfit for combat assignments cannot be entirely coincidental.

If you wanted to know the gang collaborationists of the armed bank robber today, and he was apprehended and in your control, you could apply lighter fluid to his eyes or scrotum and threaten to light it if he didn’t give accurate info. Odds are he will. But it would not stand up in court, except in Damascus or Texas or in Joe Arpaio’s jurisdiction, but it would have worked.

It’s one of Democracy’s burdens, but most people don’t feel responsible for their government, much less the obligation to elevate it and the society it rules by legislated law. Rather, they want the government to proclaim various mythic templates that allow them to include themselves for their self-esteem and social standing. Hence, truckers once pretended to the myth of the American Cowboy, as doper drop-outs pretended to be heirs of American Indians. Chickenhawks pretended to the patriotic virtues of our volunteer military, and sadistic torture as a necessity, and thank God we had to tough he-man in the White House to make those tough decisions.

Let’s see how tough these near-men are.