One Nation, Under Water

Did you heave a sigh of relief on January 20th? Did you think, “Finally, we’ve got less than a year before we get these criminals out of the White House”?

Don’t celebrate yet. The Bush/Cheney appetite for crime will likely increase, if anything, in the months ahead. This morning’s Washington Post gives good examples.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee whether or not he thinks waterboarding is torture, although he admitted he’d think it was torture if it happened to him. Meanwhile, the other Mike, CIA Director General Michael Hayden admits his agency has done it. Three times. If the Bush administration admits waterboarding three times, no one will blame you for guessing that it happens a whole lot more than that.

The White House spokesperson corps – that bastion of credibility – confirmed the instances of torture. Spokesoid Tony Fratto said the administration is going public because of “misinformation” about waterboarding and because the White House wants to be clear about “what the benefits were” from this particular form of torture.

I guess they would know the specifics of various forms of torture. The people who run our nation, we should be proud to say, are torture connoisseurs.

Waterboarding has been used at least as far back as the Spanish Inquisition. That’s time-tested, quality torture. In fact – and isn’t this ironic? – it was in 1492 that Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain turned the Inquisition loose to torture (with some waterboarding, we presume) Muslims and Jews into converting to Catholicism. To celebrate this, Isabella and Ferdinand gave Christopher Columbus the money he needed to sail off to America; so really, waterboarding Muslims is linked to the early foundations of American society.

Little known fact: Ponce de Leon was looking for the fountain of youth, so he could use the water for waterboarding. It seems some of the older Jews and Muslims were dying – weak hearts and whatnot – before they could be successfully tortured into accepting the One True Faith. His was truly a selfless quest.

But that’s the past. This is an election year and elections are about the future.

Rudy Giuliani, who is no longer a candidate for president, may have been done in not by his inept campaign (although it truly was inept), but because Rudy, let’s face it, is a low-class torturer.

Sure, while he was in the race, he boasted that his administration would torture more than Mr. Bush’s. He’d brag at debates about all the torture of his fellow Italian-Americans he’d overseen when he was a US attorney. Tony Fratto – or anyone else in the White House – could have told him, “Rudy, it’s not quantity, it’s quality that makes the torture.”

In Rudy Giuliani’s NYPD, they’d rape you with a plunger and kick your teeth in. That’s low class. Maybe they’d shoot you 41 times while you were pulling your wallet out. That’s counter-productive. Maybe undercover cops would ask to buy drugs from you (cause you’re, y’know, a black guy) and when you tell them you don’t sell drugs, they’d shoot you dead, then Rudy would hold a press conference to bad-mouth you while your family was mourning. But now I’m digressing. Maybe Rudy’s cops would wade into crowds of peaceful demonstrators, swinging their clubs and screaming, “It’s Giuliani time!” That’s just gauche. Like I said, low-class. Voters were right to reject him.

John McCain, who leads the GOP race, is a survivor of torture. It’s unclear if there was waterboarding. He is anti-torture. Five and a half years in a POW camp will do that to you. For his anti-torture stance and other perceived sins, the Rush Limbaughs and Ann Coulters promise to vote for the Democratic candidate instead.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have promised that, if elected, no torturing will occur on their watch.

Mitt Romney, in the extraordinarily unlikely event he beats Mr. McCain, has promised to double the size of the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. He’ll be thrilled to learn the Bush administration has a secret prison there. The Washington Post interviewed an army psychologist Col. Larry James, stationed down there. He said he knew nothing about the secret prisoners. He said, “I learned a long, long time ago, if I’m going to be successful in the intel community, I’m meticulously – in a very, very dedicated way – going to stay in my lane. So if I don’t have a specific need to know about something, I don’t want to know about it. I don’t ask about it.”

Eleven fun months to go.

A few hours after this was posted, Mitt Romney dropped from the Republican race. Apparently, like Rudy Giuliani, he thought quantity torture equals quality torture and he paid for his mistake.

© Mark Floegel, 2008

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