As featured on the Rachel Maddow show last week, Aspect Film & Video, an online marketing company in the U.K. (whose slogan is “Rage Against the Mundane”), has cleverly spoofed Fox’s awful 24 hrs. drama with the “enhanced interrogation” of Santa Claus.
I know this sentiment likely goes against the grain of conventional “liberal” thought, but I have to admit that I’m absolutely bored to death with the incessant interrogations of government officials of late by the media and opposition MPs about the issue of torture.
While it may represent a serious character flaw on my part, I have to confess that I simply don’t care. Likewise, I’ve been utterly wearied over the past several years to the point of complete disinterest by all of the mawkish rhetorical hand-wringing on the part of our liberal American friends about the alleged torture of “detainees” captured in their farcical “Global War of Terrorism.”
Here’s International Trade Minister Stockwell Day trotting out a mundane litany of “good news” from Afghanistan, describing all of the so-called achievements virtuously realized by our presence in that country, most of which simply beg to be mocked for their ridiculous fraudulence; but instead, he’s put in the relatively comfortable position of coolly deflecting the tenacious questioning of reporters about… alleged torture of some putative Taliban fighters captured and detained several years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I condone torture by any means — or “enhanced interrogation” (if that’s how one wants to more politely describe simulated drowning, intimidation with vicious dogs, extended sleep deprivation, degrading acts of humiliation, enforced stress positions, not to mention all manner of psychotic mind-games) — especially in the case of probably witless, hired “insurgents” or even, as frequently seems to be the case, perfectly innocent civilians inadvertently swept up from the countryside in the fray, but this obsessive focus on “torture” (of which there’s little doubt it occurred in horrifically mismanaged Afghan jails staffed by sadistic thugs) really seems to take away from the broader questions regarding the vastly more important issues concerning the nature of our involvement in this shabby little war.
The media and the opposition parties are like a ferocious pack of dogs in pursuit of an irresistibly meaty bone when it comes to the matter of “torture” (if nothing else, the very word itself is an arrestingly sensational attention-grabber). But enough already! Why not simply admit that mistakes were made, evidently corrected to the best extent possible in a laudably professional manner by our military forces on the ground and move on to more substantive issues about the highly dubious purpose and utterly misguided objectives of the war itself. This constant, microscopic focus on the treatment of a handful of prisoners several years ago and the subsequent bungling and/or possibly deliberate cover-up of potentially embarrassing information surrounding it by Conservative hacks is not only pointless, but beyond tiresome.
I seriously hope that when parliament reconvenes after the holidays, Ignatieff can sharply refocus the Liberals’ offensive to press the government in such a way as to gain an absolute, unwavering assurance that our relatively small military presence will indeed be withdrawn entirely in 2011 rather than persisting in the current line of futile inquiry about allegations of “torture” that are all too easily prone to being characterized as willfully impugning the moral integrity of the Forces for partisan advantage.
In other words, please get a little more politically savvy… If the Conservatives have so much fabulously “good news” and terrific “gains” to report about our efforts in Afghanistan, well then run with that — declare “victory” and get the hell out of that abysmal sinkhole at the first available opportunity.
Sometimes it’s just too easy to make fun of Bill O. In fact, no effort is required at all; just post the clip and let him do the work himself. Here he is “debating” (i.e., shouting down and talking over) the torture issue with Newsday columnist and Fox News contributor Ellis Henican:
Also, I don’t know why O’Reilly keeps repeating the idea that “enhanced interrogation” techniques foiled the potential attack on Los Angeles when this is patently false. Never let facts get in the way of a good argument, I guess.
Granted that Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration since leaving the State Department in 2005, but his assessment of Dick Cheney and the general fear mongering of the Bush administration in the post 9/11 environment is pretty insightful.
“Vice-President Cheney is a man who frightens easily. All you have to do is go back to his five deferments during the Vietnam conflict, his behaviour post 9/11, undisclosed locations and so forth.”
On a related note, here’s a great discussion with Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda discussing the obligations of President Obama under the Constitution with regards to the torture issue.
Prodded by Charles Grodin, the other day Sean Hannity flippantly agreed to subject himself to waterboarding to benefit a charity for the families of U.S. soldiers. Last night, Keith Olbermann called his bluff and announced that he’s willing to pay $1,000 to charity for every second that the Fox News blowhard undergoes what many consider torture. “This is serious stuff. Put your money where your mouth is, and your nose,” said Olbermann.
“What a breakthrough it would be if, by having reality literally forced upon him, a buffoon like Hannity were to realize the deadly seriousness of this. The searing truth: that the moment of torture automatically makes the presumed bad guy recipient the victim, and makes the torturer into the evildoer.” Indeed.
I would be amazed if Hannity actually goes through with this.
Update: And speaking of torture, here’s a message from Satan.
How about we take Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and all of these other manly men who scoff so dismissively with great contempt at the various kinds of illegal “torture” — oops, sorry, “enhanced interrogation techniques” authorized by the Bush administration — and subject them to each and every one of the methods that have been painfully outlined in the OSC memos released earlier this week…
And how about we broadcast that live on TV? Don’t you think we could learn an awful lot of enlightening stuff about what’s really going on with the U.S. government? Because… you know, these “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually do “work” at getting to the truth, right? And don’t we all deserve to know the truth at absolutely any cost?
John Yoo, a former member of the Justice Department who wrote the first rationalization that torture is legal, said in the Wall Street Journal that the United States must torture people and referred to it as the Bush system.