Monday, May 18, 2009

Andrew Sullivan on Torture

Apparently Pat Boone, who as we all know is the foremost expert on political ethics and foreign policy in this country, has yet another stupid screed saying--in essence--that the "terrorists" had it coming, and that he, Boone, had it worse growing up because his mother used a belt:

"May I tell you that my own mama inflicted more actual physical pain on me and my brother Nick – raising welts on our butts with a sewing machine belt when we got really out of line – than any of the techniques, including "waterboarding," that detainees of the U.S. military have endured. Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed endured it supposedly 183 times, experiencing no lasting damage, but divulging information that has saved thousands of American lives. How can you compare his gasping feeling of drowning with the actual torture John McCain suffered in North Vietnam, breaking his bones and impairing him permanently? "
Andrew Sullivan turns his arguments to roadkill:
Some facts: John McCain disagrees with Boone that waterboarding isn't torture. And McCain broke his bones before captivity. The torture McCain suffered was the Vietnamese refusing to offer medical treatment for his injuries - something George W. Bush directly wanted to do with respect to the wounds of Abu Zubaydah. McCain was beaten repeatedly, also routine for prisoners under George W. Bush. McCain was also subject to solitary confinement - check - and roped stress positions. The stress positions Bush authorized were mainly not ropes, although prisoners were stretched from shackles preventing them from resting. President Bush refrained in his speech backing McCain's nomination in 2008 from describing McCain's treatment as "torture." He couldn't. He used the term "beatings and isolation". If he had used the term "torture", he would have been conceding that he believes the US committed torture under his command.

I do not know the details of Boone's childhood. But my best guess is that he was not stripped naked by strangers, thrown into a dark and cold cell for weeks, shackled so he could never rest, kept awake by insistent deafening noise, doused in water to induce hypothermia, told no one would ever see him again, and strapped to a waterboard and near-drowned scores of times."

Pat Boone is starting to look like chum in the water, and he doesn't have a bigger boat.

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