This morning on the Garland Robinette talk show (WWL out of New Orleans), he opened up the 11:00 hour with a discussion of the CIA guys who might be facing investigation for *ahem* "harsh interrogation" of alleged terrorists during the Texas Fratboy's administration.
He mentioned that he'd done research, because he wanted to hear both sides of the argument. He mentioned that there's a list of stuff the "interrogators" are allowed to do, including locking an "interviewee" in a box for up to 8 hours, blowing smoke in their faces, threatening them with guns (but not actually SHOOTING them), threatening them with power drills (but not actually DRILLING them). He didn't mention the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, where a prisoner is tossed on a plane and flown somewhere to face harsher "interrogation" at non-American hands. He mentioned waterboarding. But he seemed to go out of his way to make all this seem mild, unimportant.
He then tried to equate all this with a 30-second audio clip of an American civilian being decapitated with a knife by some assholes in Iraq. I did a brief search for the clip, then gave up and looked for the link to the show.
Here it is. The clip is about 15-20 minutes in.
But be warned. It's not pretty, it's not funny, and it is horrific.
But it's not the same thing. Yes, torture is torture--but that man isn't being "interrogated" by the Iraqi CIA, on behalf of the Iraqi government. He's being butchered. It's not pretend, it's not "make him think he's about to die." It is a terrorist act--otherwise, why record it? Why distribute it? The recording itself in intended to put fear into the listener--"We are killing him, and we will kill you this way."
That's not the same thing as water-boarding, or uncomfortable "stress positions," or smoke in the face. It's not the same as our own government violating national and international laws and the Geneva Conventions.
But even more disturbing are the sheep who called in afterward, still toeing the party line of a dirtbag who's no longer in office, their voices hoarse from whatever "U-S-A!!!! U-S-A!!!!" cheerleading teabagger shagfest they just got home from. The majority of callers were gung-ho that the ends justify the means, and that torture--oh, sorry, "harsh interrogation"--is ay-okay as long as it gets the right results. We're at WAR!!!!, and those poor CIA boys were just following orders! We don't need them Geneva things, them Eye-Rakkies killed 'Merkins! Don't you 'member a little thing cawlled NINE-ELEVEN?!?!?
Fat lot of good "just following orders" did those poor German and Japanese boys as a defense in the aftermath of World War 2. See, we strung up German and Japanese guys who "just followed orders" and tortured--sorry, "harshly interrogated"--prisoners. Waterboarders got executed. But when Americans do it, it's ay-okay?
Bullshit. I don't accept that. This crap went on for the remainder of his show, and then bubbled over to take up all three hours of "Spud" McConnell's show.
Oh, and Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11th events. If you're going to go all bloodthirsty and torture every swarthy asshole in robes, why not start with the assholes who did it? Why not start the hunt in Saudi?
For that matter, where the hell is Bin Ladin? Ol' Sheriff Fratboy was gonna bring him in...then he decided it'd be easier to go after Saddam. Lazy bastard.
Another of Garland's arguments was that "We're at war, we have two wars, Social Security is in a shambles, the economy is tanking, shouldn't we be worrying about important stuff like that?"
Oh, sure. Allow criminals to go free because the economy is tanking. Does that apply to all criminals, or just the government-sponsored ones?
We've ended up doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons--and going after the CIA spooks now is probably too little, too late. Obama's first act on January 21 should have been to get them all--the ones who GAVE those orders, not just those who followed.