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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Surfs Up! Grab Your Water Boards!

“Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.
According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.
‘The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,’ said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.”
-ABC News, November 18, 2005

“The use of a form of torture known as waterboarding to gain information is a ‘no-brainer’, the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, told a radio interviewer, it was reported today.
Mr Cheney implied that the technique - a form of simulated drowning - was used on the alleged September 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held at Guantánamo Bay.”
-Guardian Unlimited (UK), October 27, 2006

“Um.. I believe that waterboarding is considered to be a form of torture in most of the world (at least the civilized parts of it). How can we get out of the fact that the Vice-President just confessed to war crimes?”

“Lee Ann McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, denied that Cheney confirmed that U.S. interrogators used water-boarding or endorsed the technique.
‘What the vice president was referring to was an interrogation program without torture,’ she said. ‘The vice president never goes into what may or may not be techniques or methods of questioning.’"
-McClatchy Newspapers, October 25, 2006

“Oh.. He never said it. That’s a relief. I wonder where the misunderstanding came from...”

“Q: I've heard from a lot of listeners -- that's what we do for a living, talk to good folks in the Heartland every day -- and I've talked to as many who want an increased military presence in Iraq as want us out, which seems to be the larger debate, at least coming from the left -- cut and run, get out of there. One fax said, when you talk to the Vice President, ask him when shock and awe is coming back to Iraq. Let's finish the job once and for all.
And terrorist interrogations and that debate is another example. And I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that.
The Congress recently voted on this question of military commissions and our authority to continue the interrogation program. It passed both Houses, fortunately. The President signed it into law, but the fact is 177 Democrats in the House -- or excuse me, 162 Democrats in the House voted against it, and 32 out of 44 senators -- Democratic senators voted against it. We wouldn't have that authority today if they were in charge. That's a very important issue in this campaign.
Are we going to allow the executive branch to have the authority granted and authorized by the Congress to be able to continue to collect the intelligence we need to defend the nation.
Q: Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: 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.
And thanks to the leadership of the President now, and the action of the Congress, we have that authority, and we are able to continue to program.”
-Interview with Vice-President Richard ‘Dick’ Cheney, October 24, 2006

“Golly, it sure does sound like Big Dick was not only endorsing the use of water boarding, but he was also saying that it has been used already. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that the Vice-President of the United States did actually confess to a War Crime. That is kind of big news.”

"You know as a matter of common sense that the vice president of the United States is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will. You think Dick Cheney's going to slip up on something like this? No, come on."
-White House Spokesman Tony Snow, October 27, 2006

“Vice President Cheney said yesterday that he was not referring to an interrogation technique known as ‘waterboarding’ when he told an interviewer this week that dunking terrorism suspects in water was a "no-brainer."
Cheney told reporters aboard Air Force Two last night that he did not talk about any specific interrogation technique during his interview Tuesday with a conservative radio host.
‘I didn't say anything about waterboarding. . . . He didn't even use that phrase,’ Cheney said on a flight to Washington from South Carolina.
Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that the vice president was talking literally about ‘a dunk in the water,’ though neither Snow nor Cheney explained what that meant or whether such a tactic had been used against U.S. detainees.
‘A dunk in the water is a dunk in the water,’ Snow said.”
-Washington Post, October 28, 2006

“My mistake. I guess that Mr. Cheney understood the question to be about dunking tanks.. You know, like the ones that they have at carnivals and stuff. Hit the target with a baseball and the person gets dunked. It was an easy mistake to make. Most people thought that a discussion about torture and dunking would involve discussion of waterboarding, when actually it was about taking the terrorists to the Guantanamo county fair. Mr. Cheney went on to confuse the stacking of blindfolded naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib with a game of Twister. Still, some people don’t believe Mr. Cheney’s innocent answer…”

“The ‘dunk in water’ they were talking about is waterboarding. It has been used by the Gestapo, the North Koreans, and the Khmer Rouge. After the Second World War, a Japanese soldier was sentenced to twenty-five years’ hard labor for using it on American prisoners. It is torture, and torture is not a no-brainer. It is a no-souler. The no-brainer is the choice on Election Day.”
-The New Yorker, November 6, 2006 Issue

"Who are you going to believe? Me, or you own eyes?"
-Groucho Marx


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