Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Waterboarding and Wingnutology – Translating Wingnutspeak to English

Everyone knows that drowning and reviving and drowning and reviving a prisoner, ad infinitum, is torture. At least pretty much every American agreed that it was before pictures of Abu Ghraib hit the internet. After this occurred, all of a sudden Americans supporting the Political Party in Power reversed course and abandoned their opposition to torture, and instead offered an ignoble defense of the vile practice.

However, despite the passionate defense of Waterboarding, it is still hard to follow the logic behind the defense of Waterboarding by various GOP operatives. What follows is my attempt to interpret this Wingnutspeak into English. Here goes.

Presumably Right Wingers believe that the Government has the requisite expertise to administer the Waterboarding in a SAFE non-lethal manner. While Waterboarding is torture when committed by some (the goddamned commies for instance), it ain’t when we do it, according to these Wingers. Presumably this belief is based upon the superior expertise, procedures, and institutional knowledge of the US Government.

Accordingly, to waterboard somebody SAFELY, one would have to believe in the existence of a “Waterboarding Program.” Waterboarding on an ad hoc basis would not provide the consistency of results (information) desired by torture advocates. Therefore a formal “Waterboarding Program” would be required.

Such a “Waterboarding Program” would have to consist of at least the following:

  • A long and detailed written procedure describing the steps and “safeguards” involved during the waterboarding, i.e., a “Waterboarding Manual.”

  • Extensive training on “proper” waterboarding techniques contained in the “Waterboarding Manual.”

  • Independent quality reviews of the “Waterboarding Manual” and waterboarding in practice to ensure the written procedures in the “Waterboarding Manual” are being followed and do in fact work as designed.

  • Medical Monitoring in place during the Waterboarding to monitor the victim’s pulse and all vital signs to prevent heart attack or other stress induced conditions and be able to stabilize the Victim’s condition instantaneously.

  • Doctors on hand during the Waterboarding in case something goes wrong because you don't want too many people to die.

Further Right Wing Torture advocates must also believe that the Government can do all these things and still be able to effectively interrogate the victim so that he does not say whatever it is that he thinks he needs to say to stop the Waterboarding. And before the government waterboarded anyone, you must also believe that it has:

  • Stone Cold Actionable Intelligence that the alleged terrorist is in fact a dangerous terrorist with actionable information.

As to this last element of the Waterboarding program, one must believe that only dangerous known terrorists with actionable intelligence would be waterboarded. However, unfortunately prominent Right WIngers have been calling for a much more intensive use of waterboarding – extending the “Waterboarding Program” to suspected “terrorists” and known low-level terrorists without ticking time bomb intelligence. In this instance the “Waterboarding Program” would need to include:

  • A method to compensate those who were incorrectly suspected of terrorism and Waterboarded anyway.

It would seem that a believer in waterboarding must maintain a great deal of faith in all the elements of the "Waterboarding Program" to safeguard the life of the terrorist (or suspected terrorist) while avoiding the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and complying with international conventions against torture.

This faith in Government's ability to Waterboard People SAFELY is truly remarkable when you think about it. More so when you realize, that Right Wingers have absolutely no faith in the Government to merely administer the Clean Air Act much less implement Health Insurance Reform in this country without trampling of the Property Rights (to pollute at will or a mandate health insurance at a fair price for all) of the people. These Right Wingers (and other Waterboarding enthusiasts), however must have absolute faith in the Government and the Bureaucrats that make it function (in this situation) to accomplish all these things because we are talking about the most sacrosanct right – of liberty of self.

Anyway, when you hear a Right Winger state that Waterboarding isn’t torture if we do it – this is probably why.