Thursday, May 31, 2007

Guess What-- It Doesn't Work

A few months ago, I was blogging about watching one of my old favorites movies, Dr. Stranglove with my son.

Reading the New York Times yesterday, I was reminded of a scene in the movie. The premise of the movie is that an American General has gone off his rocker due to an, um, "equipment malfunction" and has ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Peter Sellers, in one of his three brilliant roles, plays Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a visiting British officer. Captain Mandrake quickly figures out what is going on and tries to coax the attack recall code out of General Jack D. Ripper, portrayed by Sterling Hayden.

As American forces, who have been ordered to capture Ripper and retrieve the code, close in, Ripper asks Mandrake if he had been tortured after he'd been captured by the Japanese during his World War II service. Mandrake replies that yes, he had. Ripper asks if they got any information out of him, and Mandrake replies that he didn't think they weren't really looking for information-- it was just their idea of a good time.

Guess what? Amnesty International and any other human rights experts could have told BushCo and seven of the eight assholes running for the Republican nomination that torture-- oh, excuse me, "enhanced methods" (even torture has a poltically correct name) do not work. And now, as BushCo gets ready to revise interrogation rules, experts advising the administration are warning that the interrogation methods are "outmoded, amateurish and unreliable".

The article states that the current methods are "a hodgepodge that date from the 1950's, or are modeled on old Soviet practices."

Sure glad we won the Cold War-- so that we can actually become the enemy we feared and loathed.

The article compares the amateurish, ineffectual "enhanced methods" to the sophisticated-- and very successful-- non-violent interrogation methods of modern day veteran homicide detectives and to those who interrogated German and Japanese POW's during World War II.

The article pointed out that the World War II interrogators had graduate degrees in law and philosphy, spoke the language of the interogees flawlessly, and prepared for four to six hours for each hour of interrogation.

A few weeks ago, we were treated to the sorry spectacle of all but one of the morons running for the Republican nomination openly advocating torture-- most notably, former prosecutor Rudolph Guliani. It was grotesque.

Clearly, the advocacy of torture plays to the home crowd. We're angry at the bastards who perpetrated 9/11, yes. We want to strike back, yes. Yet, one of the stated purposes of terror is to get a government to walk away from the rule of law, and start its own campaign of terror-- and torture-- thus undermining its legitimacy and moral high ground. They have succeeded in this.

Not surprisingly, the military has been one of the biggest critics of what has gone on, and has cracked down the hardest on its members it has found guilty of it. They understand that whatever methods you use justifies the enemy using those methods on US forces. And they know that the methods just don't work.


The use of torture has no basis in reality, and no place in the modern world. It's a fantasy that only works on 24 and in B-movies, with evil Gestapo torturers and maniacal Russian secret agents. I doubt that BushCo will listen to that though. But hopefully those who follow will.


It was bad enough to have a B-Movie actor as President. With BushCo we've actually become a B-Movie.

10 comments:

Splotchy said...

What did McCain say about torture?

Johnny Yen said...

He was, to his credit, the sole voice against it. At least his time in the Hanoi Hilton taught him something.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Hopefully, a B-movie where everyone throws popcorn and then walks out.

vikkitikkitavi said...

What do you expect when the "journalists" asking them about the issue of torture are asking them questions posed within B movie hypotheticals?

Splotchy said...

Oh, I initially misread your post, thinking Rudy was the one sole voice against it.

McCain's stance against torture reminds me of an online argument I had with a Republican a while back.

I argued that Republicans often tout their beliefs regardless of the consequences of individuals affected by those beliefs, except when the consequences affect them personally.

I realize this is a trait people of all political stripes share, but I was the middle of a political pissing match at the time.

I brought up the Brady Bill, saying the only way a Republican would support gun control legislation would be for them to get shot in the head.

Not exactly a tasteful thing to say, but it got my point across.

Big Orange (a.k.a. "Uncle Moonpie") said...

Splotchy!! What's the name of that cat that's yer avitar? I read a BIG FAT BOOK of all those toons and MAN, did it fuck up my head! Especially PigMan.

while I'm uttering non sequitors, I read in an old copy of Mean magazine that Sellers had a career in which he played 90 DIFFERENT characters. Ooooh, I bow before him!!

Now then, on to torture. Part of the problem is that your average Amerikun would LOVE to be DOING the torturing themselves-- and whipping with electrical cords would be child's play, I'm sure. As long as we put power-mongers into office, we'll have this sort of reaction. Clinton may've been a Bubba, but if the worst he did was get a blowjob, then we should count ourselves lucky.

Splotchy said...

Big O, my avatar is a pic of Frank, done by the talented Jim Woodring.
Great, great stuff.

You get twenty points for the segueway, "Now then, on to torture."

Johnny Yen said...

Kristi-
I keep waiting for this one to end.

Vikki-
It's disgusting, isn't it, how the press has totally bent over for this administration.

Splotchy-
That reminds me of something I said when I was very involved in human rights work with Amnesty Interntional, regarding the death penalty. They'd ask "what if the victim was a family member or friend?" My response was "What if it were your family member or friend mistakenly executed?" That's particularly relevant here in Illinois.

Grant Miller said...

"Sure glad we won the Cold War-- so that we can actually become the enemy we feared and loathed."

You should win an award for that line.

MacGuffin said...

I think we're well under way to becoming an Evil Empire of a different stripe, a corporate one where the Bottom Line is GOD. Or perhaps Rome is crumbling? Would it be such a shame?