Raging Moderate, by Will Durst
I’m sick of torture. And the fact that we’re one of the countries way up there on the J.D. Powers annual “torture reliability” list makes me unwell as well. As does talking AROUND torture. What this country needs is an up-front national referendum on whether we should or shouldn’t be torturing people. Oh wait. That’s right, we did have one. Last November 4th.
These aren’t your normal, ordinary everyday forms of torture we’re talking about either: like twelfth in line at a understaffed Starbucks or shuffling through life a Golden State Warriors fan or being forced to watch NBC’s prime-time lineup against your will, I’m referring to real, state-sponsored, “talk or we do something crazy” Jack Bauer-on-steroids kind of stuff.
The big difference being, Kiefer Sutherland’s rascally television torturer gets most of his best results simply by raising his voice. “Are you going to talk?” “Never.” Compelling him to move in real close and yell in the dastardly scoundrel’s face: “ARE YOU GOING TO TALK NOW?” “Okay. Okay. I’ll talk. Just lower your voice. The kids are trying to sleep.”
Now we got Nancy Pelosi and the CIA exchanging torture lying charges. Don’t you hate it when lovers’ spats go public? The Republicans are gleefully sliding into the House Speaker cleats up because she has little of the President’s Teflon coating. To many Americans she’s that great aunt who smiles too much at Thanksgiving and always uses your full name when scolding you for poor quality table manners. “William, only cows chew with their mouths open.”
Even Dick Cheney has gotten into the act with a recent talk-show offensive defending his administration’s torture policies. And as far as everybody in the nation who sees his face being mightily offended, he’s been successful. This is not a partisan thing. A National Journal poll of Republican insiders shows 57 percent of them think he’s hurting the party. So pretty much everybody agrees, Dick Cheney speaking on torture is redundant.
He called the enhanced interrogation techniques used at Gitmo regrettable but necessary. And you got to love that phrase: “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Sounds like instructions on how to turn on the fluorescents at a job interview. He’s not being tortured, he’s being solicited to provide easy answers to exceptionally difficult questions. In bad lighting. And those car-battery cables attached to his nipples are “nervous system awareness amplifiers.”
What I don’t get is how anybody can defend waterboarding a single prisoner 183 times. Operationally, wouldn’t you think the effectiveness would start to wear off after about 60 or 70? What genius kept pushing, “I know we’ve gotten nothing the first couple hundred times here, but I got a hunch, this next time — we’re gold.” Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 183 times, shame on me. As my daddy always said: 183rd time’s the charm.
The best way Dick Cheney could help this country is to creep back to that undisclosed location of his, and maybe take Joe Biden with him. Still haven’t figured out why Cheney is so obsessed with selling the positive merits of torture. Though there is that old axiom about one man’s torture being another man’s S&M turn-on, so maybe that explains more about the Cheney Doctrine than we really need to know. TMI. You want torture? Dick Cheney in fishnets. Try to pry that image out of your mind.
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who writes sometimes. This is one of them.
Copyright ©2009, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at email@example.com. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.