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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Would you want to have a beer with this man?

Man, posting videos is so much easier than actually blogging. Here's Matt Lauer, of all people, grilling President Bush in the Oval Office on Monday about the blatantly illegal methods he's authorized against suspected terrorists.



Remember all the talk about how Bush was the candidate most Americans would rather have a beer with, how Kerry was stiff and people couldn't relate to him?

Well, if I was having a beer with the guy in this video, I'd be hard-pressed to keep from punching him in his smirking face grill. He's smug, rude, constantly repeats himself, shifts randomly between defensiveness and aggression, and every time he points his finger at Lauer I'm amazed Matt doesn't tell him to knock it the fuck off. This man is our president?

Also notice how cavalier Bush is about the interrogation technique called waterboarding, which he claims he won't discuss even while engaging in a little wink wink, nudge nudge about how it's all legal like. Here's a little primer on waterboarding:
The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.
Ugh. I can't even watch the video all the way through. It makes me sad and ashamed.

3 Comments:

Blogger Gordon the Gnome said...

Hmmm... sounds awful, but also effective without incurring permanent physical damage. I think the fact that these guys cave in so quickly is a plus—so long as they're proven guilty beyond a doubt, and they offer up info that is actually true. After all, if admitted Al-Qaida leaders are offering up some actionable intelligence that otherwise would remain hidden, aren't we potentially saving the lives of thousands by scaring secrets out of these people? Isn't conducting one mock execution justified when it prevents the real executions of many? Or is that just a slippery slope that's simply too dangerous to pursue?

Blogger Buck B. said...

There's a lot of interrogation methods that don't leave "permanent physical damage", such as electrical shocks, rape and garden-variety beatings. Hell, even your fingernails will grow back in time.

I wish I had more time to reply to this silliness, but I'm crushed at work and have a job interview later today. So here's the short argument against torture, in three parts.

1.) Practical: Torture produces unreliable results.
2.) Legal: Torture is against international and U.S. law (since all treaties confirmed by the Senate become U.S. law).
3.) Ideological: Torture gives up the moral high ground and dims the idea of American exceptionalism.

If you want to read a really thorough treatment of this subject, check out Andrew Sullivan's amazing National Review article from last year. You need a subscription to read it, but it's publicly available here.

Blogger Mandasaurus said...

Obviously torture is a stupid way to do international relations business. It reminds me of the confessions police forced out of accused murderers under sleep depervation, coercion and threats.

Furthermore, who talks the way our president does? He's like one of those weirdos you try to avoid mentioning social events in front of for fear he'll join. "We're having a party. Do NOT tell the president. We don't want him to come and point at everyone."

There's nothing like the reassurance from the president that terrorist are trying to KILL YOUR FAMILY. But he's here to help. Phew.

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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.