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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/26/08

Torture R Us (Almost)

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Scores of newspapers across the country - most of which are alternative weeklies - carry a column by Chuck Shepherd titled "News of the Weird." Given the state of MSM journalism, Chuck's column is a welcome antidote to all the distortions, misinformation, and general bullshit one finds rolled up on the front porch every morning or silently staring out from the corner news kiosk.

Here's a candidate for inclusion in the next "News of the Weird: The number of Americans who would condone torture, at least when used on terrorists in order to save lives, has risen over the past two years and now stands at 44 percent, according to a new opinion poll. In 2006, the same poll found 36 percent of Americans would support torture.

The poll released by, a project managed by the University of Maryland, found that a narrow majority of Americans - 53 percent - think all torture should be banned.

The latest poll was part of an international survey of public attitudes on torture, which found that 57 percent of respondents in 19 countries opposed it under all circumstances. But in India, Nigeria, Turkey and South Korea, a majority agreed with torture at least in some cases. The findings were issued at the United Nations ahead of International Victims of Torture Day on Thursday. (That's some sort of holiday now? Jesus, wait until the discount furniture stores find out. Living room suites reduced - 50% off! - in recognition of waterboarding victims? I'm gonna be sick.)

This issue "has legs" here in Glory Land because of the torture methods we apply in the questioning of suspects at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Of course, those are the only locations at which the stupidly venal MSM are allowed to suggest torture occurs. And, "has legs" is a bad metaphor. Maybe, "has legs" works when the goat herders and taxi drivers are first vacuumed into the maw of the U.S. torture system, but not necessarily - at least workable ones - when they emerge years later. Assuming, of course, they eventually emerge.

President Chucklenuts has said the United States does not practice torture. But the CIA has admitted using waterboarding, (near-drowning) and a recent Justice Department probe cited cases of "short shackling" and other physical techniques like hanging, rape, beatings and death. To Chucklenuts that's not torture, that's fraternity hazing. Why? Because Rush Limbaugh says so. As do his bastard offspring; Hannity, Savage, Boortz and the rest of the right-wing radio crew of Nazi wannabes.

Possibly, the key phrase in the poll question was "at least when used on terrorists in order to save lives." Which raises the immediate question: How many terrorists have we tortured and how much information have we extracted that saved lives?

On the other hand, how many goat herders and taxi drivers have we brutalized for the sheer hell of it and then released to wander in perpetual shock and stress back in their home countries? Questions that probably will never be answered because Chucklenuts and his Master, Lord Cheney, say such revelations would, um, toughen our enemies so they could resist our, um, enhanced questioning techniques. And, besides, the poll respondents in the U.S. probably were fans of Fox TV's "24 Hours" and therefore know there are bomb-planting terrorists everywhere and they must be tortured or we all die!!!!!

Yeah. Of course.

So, while herding goats in some mountainous region of Berserkastan, Ahmed can read about our "techniques" as reported in the latest issue of Asia Times and think, "Ha! I will now spend long hours teaching my body how not to respond to having my tongue cut out. I will now spend long hours learning International Sign Language. I may only be a goat herder, but I will thwart the American torturers. Allah be praised!"

This is, of course, more of the Bush Legacy. So, can we expect President Obama immediately upon taking office, to totally and completely rescind all directives from Bush and Cheney that authorized such horrific and degenerate policy?

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Mike Malloy is a former writer and producer for CNN (1984-87) and CNN-International (2000). His professional experience includes newspaper columnist and editor, writer, rock concert producer and actor. He is the only radio talk show host in America to have received the A.I.R (Achievement in Radio) Award in both (more...)
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