2006-10-28

Dunking doughnuts with Mr Cheney

28 October 2006.

  • Under the title Cheney endorses simulated drowning, Mark Tran, business editor at Guardian Unlimited and formerly a correspondent for the Guardian newspaper in New York and Washington, has published an article in yesterday's issue* highlighting a radio interview with Richard Bruce Cheney in the Vice-President's office in the White House on the occasion of «Radio Day» (24 October) in which the following interchange occurred :
    Q [from interviewer Scott Hennen, WDAY] Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

    THE VICE PRESIDENT [i e, Mr Cheney's present alias]: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

    Mr Tran's article makes clear that US military personnel responsible for «fairly robust» interrogations which included water-boarding have, at least on occasion, been severely punished by courts martial since 1901. But in accordance with the well-known general progress of moral thought since that remote time, Mr Cheney does not seem to see any contradiction between his view of a «dunk in water» as a «no-brainer» and his claim that «[w]e don't torture». My own take on the matter can be found in the response I posted to StumbleUpon, infra :

If there is a «no-brainer» in this story (aside from the results of an anatomical/physiological work-up on Mr Cheney himself), it is that he and his minions have consistently advocated the use of torture (not, of course, by the «other side»). If we didn't know from previous experience - which of course we did - the exchange reported here (the version released by the White House can be found here) would more than suffice to demonstrate the sort of «democracy» Mr Cheney has always had in mind for the inhabitants of Iraq. He has, despite the high cost of approximately 700 000 lives (more than 95 % of them Iraqi) hitherto snuffed out before their time, been willing to export this precious commodity from the United States to Iraq, without any compensation at all (all talk of profits made in the process by Halliburton and other such entities is surely a canard, and like claims of strategic control of Southwest Asian oil and gas resources, completely irrelevant to the US/UK «intervention» in the former (in more sense than one) country). Isn't altruism grand ?...

*I note in an article by Dan Eggen in today's Washington Post, that, as usual when it is felt that Mr Cheney has gone too far, the damage-control specialists, aka «spin doctors», have been called in. Now the «dunk in water» is said not to refer to waterboarding, but rather some unspecified (unspecifiable ?) interrogation method, that could, no doubt, be described as «fairly robust». A very useful manoeuvre, which addresses two audiences at the same time : on the one hand, those who do not wish to believe that the man occupying the office of vice-president of the United States is signalling that the use of torture in interrogations is desirable, not to say mandatory and who can claim, to paraphrase J Alfred Prufrock's elegant ladies, that this «is not what [he] meant at all», and, on the other, his core constituency, which, like Mr Cheney himself, possesses no qualms whatever concerning so minor a matter as torture (of others), and who will ignore all the qualifications and go on believing - correctly - that Mr Cheney was advocating the use of torture in interrogations. Nice work if you can get it !...

1 comment:

i.m.small said...

THE MEOWS IN THE MEWS
The taste is for inflicting pain
From which right-thinking souls refrain,
But, as the cohort will explain,
It must be done, "or else no gain."

Succinctly thus the hostile crew
Itself expresses; but the view
Terror and hatred only do
To counter terror, is not new.

(You thought Christ put the lie to rest,
But, as it seems, he knew not best--
So words of Neocons suggest
As keep him in the tomb cold pressed.)

Regardless the efficacy
Or not, their way is not for me:
I will not torture, neither be
A party to their villainy.

Aggressive war I must denounce,
And with each syllable pronounce
My opposition; though they trounce
Dissent, of truth they have no ounce.

(A body lain before a tank
May be profane with none to thank,
But though ´tis slain while keeping rank
Let heaven´s blessing prove no prank.)

This is Rat´s Alley
Dingy and smelly;
The cat O´Malley
Scratches his belly.