Patterico's Pontifications

9/29/2006

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOBODY Expects the American Inquisition!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:29 pm

A Monty Python skit foreshadowed harsh interrogation techniques at Gitmo:

Ximinez: Now, old lady — you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly — *two* last chances. And you shall be free — *three* last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.

Wilde: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Ximinez: Right! If that’s the way you want it — Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions!

[Biggles carries out this rather pathetic torture]

Ximinez: Confess! Confess! Confess!

Biggles: It doesn’t seem to be hurting her, lord.

Ximinez: Have you got all the stuffing up one end?

Biggles: Yes, lord.

Ximinez [angrily hurling away the cushions]: Hm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch…THE COMFY CHAIR!

[JARRING CHORD]

[Zoom into Fang’s horrified face]

Fang [terrified]: The…Comfy Chair?

Yes. The Comfy Chair.

From Rich Lowry’s recent article on Guantanamo:

Interrogators rely on the soft sell. Detainees sit in a La-Z-Boy chair during interrogations, and beverages and movies are available to put them at ease. The most effective interrogator is said to be an older woman who adopts a nurturing attitude.

Back to Monty Python:

Ximinez: So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put her in the Comfy Chair!

[They roughly push her into the Comfy Chair]

Ximinez [with a cruel leer]: Now — you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven. [aside, to Biggles] Is that really all it is?

Biggles: Yes, lord.

Ximinez: I see. I suppose we make it worse by shouting a lot, do we? Confess, woman. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess!

Biggles: I confess!

Ximinez: Not you!

See Dubya skips the snark, and notes (but passes on) the cheap and obvious Monty Python reference. That’s the difference between him and me — if it’s cheap and obvious, I’m there, baby!

But See Dubya does make several cogent observations, including this:

It’s a shame that the Left has focused so much misplaced energy and capital in trying to prove that Gitmo and CIA overseas interrogation are secretly Treblinka. Abuses and atrocities are, regrettably and rarely, committed by our side in cases like Abu Ghraib and Haditha, and a decent, principled Left would have saved its outrage for these cases when it counted, and thus acted as a conscience to check our worst martial impulses. Instead, their cries of “torture!” and “Gulag!” have faded into one long undifferentiated drone that lulls us to sleep instead of waking us up.

The Left has cried nothing but Wolf since the war started, and it’s hard to take their outrage seriously anymore, if we ever did.

I’d go further. If we’re worried about the perception of our actions overseas, as the Left claims to be, why isn’t the Left equally (if not more) responsible for that perception, due to their constant exaggeration of our interrogation practices?

Although I will give them this: it is indeed difficult to withstand the Comfy Chair.

Foley: Sicko

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:51 pm

This is disgusting. I’m not happy about giving the seat to the Democrats — but it’s better than letting this guy keep it.

Eric Muller: Curvaceous Hypocrite

Filed under: Buffoons,Humor — Patterico @ 6:28 pm

Doofus Eric Muller recently mocked Michelle Malkin, calling her a hypocrite for writing a scathing column about Charlotte Church’s skankiness, while Malkin herself supposedly appeared in a bikini in this Photoshopped shot. (Note the exceedingly small head.) Yet it appears that Muller is quite the hypocrite himself — as he has disturbingly appeared in an almost identical pose. See the awful truth here.

Who’s the hypocrite now, Eric?!

More details at Michelle’s site. (H/t Jeff C.)

By the way, I disagree with Michelle’s decision to complain to Muller’s employer. It’s tough to put myself in her position, of course, but Muller — while typically overeager to believe the worst about Malkin — seems to have believed in good faith that it was Michelle, and would likely have pulled down the whole post in shame if he thought he could get away with it. (Note that he is not allowing comments on the thread — a wise choice, as any commenters would certainly be handing him his head, and he doesn’t like to be embarrassed on his own blog.) I think if I were Michelle, I would let Muller’s obvious embarrassment speak for itself, and concentrate my fury at the Wonkette scum, who are still accusing her of lying.

Is This Waterboarding Session Worth It? A Hypothetical

Filed under: General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:54 am

Allah writes:

Watch the Brian Ross video and listen to him patiently explain how information coerced from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed proved to be quite reliable indeed. And ended up saving god knows how many Californians’ (blue state!) lives.

They want us to debate honestly on this. Fine. I’m willing to, if it’s a genuinely honest debate. The first step of which is for us to concede we don’t want innocent people or even not-so-innocent people who are guilty of ordinary crimes to be mistreated, and for them to concede that in some instances these tactics are important and effective. If we start from the position that no one should be tortured even if we credibly believe it will prevent airplanes from being flown into skyscrapers, then we are at what is known as an unbridgeable impasse.

I’ll readily concede that I don’t want anyone to be “mistreated.” I think that word covers different things for people with higher-value information who refuse to give it up, as the KSM example demonstrates.

I have hinted at this before in posts with many other issues. But now I’d like to throw it out there without any other distractions.

Let’s assume the following hypothetical facts are true. U.S. officials have KSM in custody. They know he planned 9/11 and therefore have a solid basis to believe he has other deadly plots in the works. They try various noncoercive techniques to learn the details of those plots. Nothing works.

They then waterboard him for two and one half minutes.

During this session KSM feels panicky and unable to breathe. Even though he can breathe, he has the sensation that he is drowning. So he gives up information — reliable information — that stops a plot involving people flying planes into buildings.

My simple question is this: based on these hypothetical facts, was the waterboarding session worth it?

While this is not being done for retribution, it may provide some perspective to note that, in the hypothetical, the plot stopped by obtaining the information is much like 9/11. And in the real 9/11, real people in the Twin Towers who were confronted with fires and smoke had the sensation they couldn’t breathe, but that’s because they actually couldn’t — and it lasted more than two minutes. Then they were crushed by the collapsed building, and taken away from their families, due to the actions of this man. If we don’t get the information, similar things would happen again, perhaps to hundreds or thousands of people.

So: is such a waterboarding session worth it?


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