Friday, October 27, 2006

If It Was Good Enough for the Khmer Rouge, It's Good Enough For Us

Dick Cheney's official endorsement of waterboarding has been mostly ignored by the Bush-worshippers -- apart from a few glancing references; all of which used words like "purported" or "alleged" (and here), or didn't mention it at all.

Cheney admitted the use of waterboarding -- which up until now the Bush administration has refused to do -- in an interview with Scott Hennen, a right-wing sycophant whose radio show airs in Fargo, ND. Hennen asked Cheney if he approved of what Hennen called "a dunk in water":

In an interview Tuesday with Scott Hennen, a conservative radio show host from Fargo, N.D., Cheney agreed with Hennen's assertion that "a dunk in water" may yield valuable intelligence from terrorism suspects. He also referred to information gleaned from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the captured architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but stopped short of explicitly saying what techniques were used.

Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Hennen asked.

"Well, it's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said, "but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in."

If it's such a no-brainer, how come Hennen indulges in a euphemism like "a dunk in water"? How come neither he nor Cheney can bring themselves to use the word "waterboarding" or, better yet, call the "dunk in water" what it truly is: a mock drowning, in which the torturers strap the victim to a board, gag him with a cloth or with cellophane taped over the mouth ("to enhance the distress," according to "current and former CIA officers" who were trained to administer the torture), and pour water over his face to create an intense feeling of suffocation or drowning. A "dunk in water" sounds so benign. But if it were benign, or even merely "unpleasant," it would not be so effective in breaking prisoners and getting them to give the CIA interrogators the answers they want to hear.

Andrew Sullivan yesterday gave us some fine biting words about Cheney's "if it was good enough for Pol Pot, it's good enough for us" statement of position. Today, he takes apart Tony "Squealer" Snow's denial of Cheney's admission.

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