Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

I Believe in the CIA

It is, at this point, an old story. Conservative pundit dismisses waterboarding. Conservative pundit dismisses waterboarding and decides to prove how humane it is by undergoing it himself. Conservative pundit gets waterboarded. Conservative pundit changes his position on waterboarding.

The latest version of this tale comes from radio host Eric "Mancow" Muller. “I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” he said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face." But that's not how it came out. " I don’t want to say this," said Mancow. "Absolutely torture.” And that, of course, is the judgment made by someone being waterboarded in controlled conditions. Someone who knew he wasn't going to die.

But that aside, I've always found this confusing. I'm opposed to torture. Others are in favor of it. So it goes. But it never occurred to me that the CIA was trying to torture and just failing on a technical level. If the CIA has decided to waterboard terrorists, they probably have a good reason to think that waterboarding is a pretty unpleasant thing for a terrorist to go through. And I've really never understood the argument that simultaneously says the Bush administration was correct to argue in favor of "enhanced interrogation techniques" but was nevertheless not actually employing any techniques that enhanced their actual interrogations.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 22, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Comment Update
Next: The Bank of America Surprise

Comments

What makes you think the CIA just decided to start torturing? From what I've been reading it was Cheney/Bush et al that decided and then compelled them to torture.

Posted by: par4 | May 22, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Who is arguing that Bush/Cheney advocated for, but did not employ enhanced interrogation techniques?

Five-Deferment Cheney is quite clear that the United States decided after 9/11 that it was appropriate to use torture as a national security tool. In his famously vague way, he chooses to name it "tough interrogations," and "enhanced interrogations" but a spade is a spade, a rose is a rose and an enhanced interrogation that employs waterboarding is torture.

Now Mancow clearly wanted to prove that waterboarding was not torture, but failed miserably.

And for this Chicagoan, calling Mancow a "conservative pundit" is a bit of a stretch. In my neck of the woods, he's known as a "shock jock" who LOVES the limelight....

http://wardonwords.blogspot.com

Posted by: anne3 | May 22, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

There is something surprisingly stupidly circular about all this re: torture, CIA, preventive detention et al. Sort of like creating opinions, comments, speeches using the refrigerator magnets and creating "poetry" approach. Is torture ok if someone does it good faith? Can Obama lock someone up and throw away the key if we give it different set of magnetized keywords. its getting to be sort of deja vu all the time. Nothing is settled. Can we still torture. Why not. Nothing will happen in terms of prosecution of the torturers. Can we dismiss habeas corpus? Why not, it's been sanitzed as ok if its all down legaly (huh?). Turns out what we have de facto is the Cheney Doctrine. So?

Posted by: mickster1 | May 22, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

It's the government with carte blanche. Everything goes. We torture, but in good faith, we lock people up without cause but under a cloak of government supervised legality? Trust us. This is the jabberwocky that reality-based reality has become.

Posted by: mickster1 | May 22, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Kind of OT but...

Apparently in right-wing Chicago we only have conservative pundits on our airwaves.

Gee, I wonder how that happened.

Posted by: leoklein | May 22, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

"it never occurred to me that the CIA was trying to torture and just failing on a technical level. If the CIA has decided to waterboard terrorists, they probably have a good reason to think that waterboarding is a pretty unpleasant thing for a terrorist to go through. And I've really never understood the argument that simultaneously says the Bush administration was correct to argue in favor of "enhanced interrogation techniques" but was nevertheless not actually employing any techniques that enhanced their actual interrogations."

I find this argument incoherent. They weren't "trying to torture". They were trying to get information and weren't getting anywhere. Waterboarding apparently produced that information.

If they just wanted to torture, why would they have stopped at waterboarding? It's OK to argue, as Klein appears to want to, that there are only two possibilities:

1 shut up, your attorney is on the way
2 torture.

Is that where Klein wants to go? I think "enhanced" meant things between the two extremes. Is loud music torture? It's certainly not allowed in the criminal justice system.

Posted by: lfstevens | May 23, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This is a clever argument, but perhaps a bit too clever. Nobody in government seemed to be arguing for unshackled torture -- interrogation without restrictions. But some people believed that some procedures which didn't quite constitute torture could still be useful in interrogations -- a category which they believed included waterboarding. As these incidents make clear, those people simply didn't know what they were talking about.

Posted by: davestickler | May 25, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

The punk is so punked!

Leftist asshattery just gets better and better.

Posted by: AtlasShrugs | May 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company