A View From The Handbasket

Friday, October 26, 2007
Tortured reasoning
Posted by neros_fiddle at 2:38 PM

One of the right's favorite knocks on lefties is their "moral relativism." Liberals, they say, just can't be pinned down on questions of right and wrong. They weasel out of making righteous stands, insisting on looking at high-falutin' stuff like context and background instead of making snap judgments and by-God acting (like by, say, invading a country on a glorified hunch).

This is especially true in the arena of national security, where the left is routinely mocked for letting their refusal to see the world in black and white get in the away of decisive, even radical, action to protect American from the Islamofacsicommunazisocialism threat. So when 9/11 HeroTM Rudy Giuliani was asked recently his opinion on waterboarding, one would expect clarity and decisiveness. Here's America's Mayor:

Well, I'm not sure [waterboarding] is [torture] either. I'm not sure it is either. It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it. I think the way it's been defined in the media, it shouldn’t be done. The way in which they have described it, particularly in the liberal media. So I would say, if that's the description of it, then I can agree, that it shouldn't be done. But I have to see what the real description of it is. Because I've learned something being in public life as long as I have. And I hate to shock anybody with this, but the newspapers don't always describe it accurately.

Boy, there's no "moral relativism" at work there, is there? On one of the most important issues facing our very moral identity as a nation, Rudy thinks it "depends on the circumstances." He doesn't know "what the real description of it is." But he sure doesn't trust the "liberal media."

Then, Rudy loosens up the room with a little "boys will be sadists" humor:

And I see, when the Democrats are talking about torture, they’re not just talking about even this definition of waterboarding, which again, if you look at the liberal media and you look at the way they describe it, you could say it was torture and you shouldn’t do it. But they talk about sleep deprivation. I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly. That’s silly.

Har, har! Sleep deprivation! What a joke! Rudy's got it tougher than those pampered detainees! We've obviously lost a great opportunity here -- since Rudy's an expert on sleep deprivation, perhaps he could have advised such respected practitioners as the KGB and Pinochet on how to more effectively administer the technique, and more information could have been extracted from the likes of Menachem Begin.

Unless I'm mistaken, there's only one man running for President that has first-hand experience with torture. Here's his take:

Rudolph W. Giuliani’s statement on Wednesday that he was uncertain whether waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, was torture drew a sharp rebuke yesterday from Senator John McCain, who said that his failure to call it torture reflected his inexperience.

“All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today,” Mr. McCain, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said in a telephone interview.

Of presidential candidates like Mr. Giuliani, who say that they are unsure whether waterboarding is torture, Mr. McCain said: “They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture.”

There's some clarity for you.

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