John McCain says Torture had Nothing to do with Finding Osama bin Laden

John McCain had something to say in his May 11th Washington Post column about the claim that the Bush Administration’s use “enhanced interrogation” techniques provided the key information leading to the killing of Osama bin Laden:

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently claimed that “the intelligence that led to bin Laden … began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.” That is false.

I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, non-coercive means.

And regarding the morality of torture and the ideals Americans claim to uphold, he said this:

Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are.

I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. Through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.

I agree with his statements that torture is wrong and that waterboarding, “which is a mock execution and thus an exquisite form of torture,” must never be used by Americans under any circumstances.  I’ve always argued, like McCain did in his column, that torture is a moral issue and that it is never – under any circumstances – the right thing to do.

If you read the first few paragraphs of his column you will find that he thinks the military personnel who authorized or carried out orders to use enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, should not be prosecuted.  I disagree with him on that point.  Why shouldn’t they be prosecuted?   What is to stop anybody in the U.S. armed forces from torturing again if those who are known to have done it and those who are known to have approved and ordered the torture of captives are never held to account for their heinous crimes?

I say prosecute them all, but start at the top not the bottom.  You know which guys I’m talking about:  Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, and anyone else in the “Justice” Department who wrote twisted interpretations of US and international law to justify the crimes committed by the Bush Administration.

Yes, Waterboarding is Torture, so says Erich “Mancow” Muller

Everybody who doesn’t know already wants to know if waterboarding is torture.  They simply aren’t satisfied with what our own courts have decided or what Jesse Ventura said on the Larry King show not long ago:

Larry King: You were a Navy S.E.A.L.

Jesse Ventura: Yes, and I was waterboarded [in training] so I know…It is torture…I’ll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.

Nope.  They have to figure it out for themselves.

Today was Mancow’s turn.  He agreed to subject himself to waterboarding thinking he could tell all his listeners that it’s really no big deal.  Some water on the face… a little up the nose… no big deal.  Well, here’s how it went down:

Listeners had the chance to decide whether Mancow himself or his co-host, Chicago radio personality Pat Cassidy, would undergo the interrogation method during the broadcast.  The voters ultimately decided Mancow would be the one donning the soaked towel and shackles, and at about 8:40 a.m., he entered a small storage room next to his studio that was compared to a “dungeon” by Cassidy.

“The average person can take this for 14 seconds,” Marine Sergeant Clay South answered, adding, ”  He’s going to wiggle, he’s going to scream, he’s going to wish he never did this.”
 
With a Chicago Fire Department paramedic on hand,  Mancow was placed on a 7-foot long table, his legs were elevated, and his feet were tied up.  
 
Turns out the stunt wasn’t so funny. Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop.  He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.
 
“It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke,” Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child.  “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.

Okay then… another convert.  WATERBOARDING IS TORTURE! 

Oh but they say it’s not if it’s not for very long.  How long is that?  Six or seven seconds and Mancow saw the light.  Watch the video on The Huffington Post.

Next up?  I nominate Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney (although he is not human, so it would not affect him like it did Mancow), Donald Rumsfeld, John Yoo, and Stephen Bradbury.  Line them up in their orange jumpsuits.  There’s plenty of water to go around and there are Marine seargents ready and waiting to torture the assholes that authorized it.

Abu Ghraib Torture Photos Five Year Anniversary

On April 28, 2004 we first saw this photograph taken by a member of the U.S. Military stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.

Thank you George W. Bush.
Thank you Dick Cheney.
Thank you Donald Rumsfeld.
Thank you Jay Bybee.
Thank you John Yoo.
Thank you Stephen Bradbury.

Thank you.  Thank you all for this sensational icon of American insolence.