These bogus arguments have lost their roar
Just in time for summer movies, but most likely headed straight for DVD:
Dick Cheney stars in Land of the Lost Arguments.
Also wearing loincloth in starring roles: Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, with not so much as a cameo by George W. Bush. He’s not even mentioned in the credits.
This Land of the Lost is advertised as a horror tale. It is so overacted and contrived, however, that audiences asked to suspend belief are simply guffawing.
A signature of the movie is the once-fierce dinosaur Ignoramus, a creature that will fall for anything. No suspense: In the movie, it falls.
Cast into the wilderness with their clubs and politically worn appeals, the shrinking band of ideologues seeks to stir us with these warnings that once sold to target audiences:
* Waterboarding works (if we did it).
Hard to keep track: Did we torture, or didn’t we? W. said we didn’t. Cheney is saying we did, and we liked it! And the terrorists sang like canaries, only they didn’t.
FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified to the Senate that he was having success interviewing Abu Zubaydah with traditional methods when CIA officers intervened and, against his protest, began “enhanced” means that, Soufan said, caused Zubaydah to clam up.
A CIA interrogator interviewed by ABC News disagreed, saying Zubaydah gave important information. However, former FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair he doubts the information prevented any attacks.
As to the veracity of admissions given under torture: One-time Navy Seal and ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura told Larry King, “You give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
* Our methods saved thousands of lives.
See Mueller’s comments above. Also ask Matthew Alexander, Air Force interrogator, as Salon’s Glenn Greenwald did.
Alexander performed 300 military interrogations in Iraq. He said, “We heard day in and day out from foreign fighters that the No. 1 reason they came to Iraq to fight was the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
“When they saw pictures of other Muslims being tortured and abused by U.S. soldiers, it was enough to convince them to travel to Iraq and give up their lives for a noble cause,” Alexander said.
* What we did to them is peanuts compared to beheadings they’ve done to others.
“Them” is the operative word, there.
A declassified report obtained by the ACLU about Abu Ghraib quoted a former military police commander on the scene: “It became obvious to me that the majority of our detainees were detained as the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and were swept up by coalition forces as peripheral bystanders during raids.”
He said that perhaps one in 10 of the security detainees “were of any particular intelligence value.”
Yeah, but we really stuck it to “them.”
* Closing Gitmo will put terrorists in our backyards.
You mean like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, World Trade Center bomber Zacarias Moussaoui, shoe bomber Richard Reid — each seen roaming our streets, er, confined for life, in Colorado’s federal Supermax unit?
Of all bogus arguments . . .
The same people who told us we could invade two countries, occupy them, rebuild them, inoculate them with democracy and remake the Middle East are saying we can’t safely incarcerate a few hundred men with names we can’t pronounce.
Sapped of credibility though they are, the Land of the Lost Arguments warriors still plug on. But this is a new day. Thanks to their excesses, Americans once again are reminded why we have international law. It’s not just so that sissified foreign interlopers can call ticky-tacky fouls.
In the last scene of Land of the Lost Arguments, Sean Hannity finally backs up his Fox News brag that he can withstand waterboarding. Unable to shut his mouth, he swallows his own words and drowns.
John Young’s column appears Thursday and Sunday. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.