As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Very Slow-Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

Liz Cheney ran interference for her dear old dad today on Morning Joe, pushing that "ticking time bomb" scenario talking point we've all come to know and love. Apparently she found somewhere in those memos the insistence that the torture techniques were only supposed to be used in the event of imminent attack, which to her dad, is all the time, so I don't get the distinction.

I'd like to introduce dear Liz to the technique of sleep deprivation, which was cited in the memos and which we used on multiple prisoners, which multiplied the abuse of the other techniques and which research scientists have concluded causes enough severe mental anguish to constitute torture. Interrogators would have their hands and feet shackled and stripped down to diapers, and kept awake for as much as 180 hours at a time.

Now, this isn't exactly an original thought, and I don't remember where I read it so I can't cite it. But a technique that takes 11 days to break a prisoner is most definitely NOT a technique used in reaction to an imminent plot, particularly not a ticking time bomb scenario. Maybe Liz can walk me through the thought process behind "Times Square's set to blow up in an hour, quick, grab the diaper and wait 11 days!" Somehow, I think it's sprinkled with bullshit.

(By the way, screw the LA Times for stealing an Obsidian Wings post and citing it by referring to "a separate online posting.")

Now, if there somehow is a ticking time bomb scenario that plays out over the course of two weeks, and if there is definitive evidence to that effect, then I would follow the lead of transparency advocate Dick Cheney and begin a full investigation into what specifically happened in our name. Of course, contra Richard Cohen, I don't think it matters whether or not torture "works," whatever "works" means, because once you put aside the law out of fear, the extension of the argument ends up being "If we murder every Australian male in the country, can we reduce obesity rates?" or "Will mass castration provide affordable health care?" or something. The moral relativism grows quickly absurd. And you give culpable monsters the ability to twist the truth. I have this crazy notion that a law remains the law no matter what day it is on the calendar.

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