Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dennis Miller Speaks for Me on This

On Gitmo and waterboarding. I really couldn't put this any better myself. So I transcribed this from his show yesterday. I left out a few "uh's", "and's" and other stutters. But my transcription is otherwise, true.

And here is is:

Dennis: I think it is a superfluous question because even if it is torture, we're talking about 'do you ever do it?', and I just happen to think there is a set of circumstances under which I would do it.

Now the second thing is, I don't think that they're strict adherents to the Geneva Conventions, so to give them all the benefits of the Geneva conventions seems a little silly to me. BUT

And I have to throw a third thing in here. I have not read it yet, but Salman told me something to me during the last commercial break that I'm going to ask him to explain. If somebody who I respect enough comes in, and tells me that they think that it is hurting the cause, I would change my mind and ... I'd have to read more about it. But Sal, tell me what you've heard about Patreus. I hope it's direct from him.

Sal: Yes it is.

Dennis: He wrote the piece?

Sal: Well, he's commented, directly, you know, in an interview.

Dennis: Well, it's on the Huffington Post, though, right?

Sal: Yes, it's on the Huffington Post.

Dennis: I don't believe the Huffington post, so it would have to be ... well, tell me what it says.

Sal: Well, let me just pull this up. And, it basically says ...

Dennis: Not basically, what's his quote?

Sal: Ok, getting to it...

Dennis: Well, find it during the break, and when we get back, Sal ... there's a piece on the Huffington Post, and I need his direct quote because quite frankly I don't trust that thing as far as I could throw it.


Dennis: Sal has found something out of Huff Po out of Patreus' mouth, and Sal, read that first part of it.

Sal: Ok, this is Patreus interviewed on Radio Free Europe and he says

Sal (quoting article attributed to Patreus): "I think on balance that those moves help us", said the Chief of Central US Command. "In fact, I have long been on record as having testified, and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines."

Dennis: Well, listen, I obviously concur there, I don't think soldiers can get involved in these interrogation techniques, I think it has to be the CIA, and I think it has to be an extraordinary set of circumstances. I'm just saying, you know, I notice that everybody in the world says "well I never say never" -- unless it's about waterboarding. That's the only point where people are willing to say "no, never". And I just ... I'm sorry, it might paint me as a Hessian, but I don't agree with that. I think if somebody comes in and puts together an extraor- but I agree, our soldiers should never get involved, or they're going to end up being crucified. For God's sake, you've got soldiers who watch guys laying on the floor of a building they're going through in Tikrit or something flinch or something and if they shoot them, you know they're going to be called up in a 24/7 news cycle [welieid?] now as the villain. So, no, I think soldiers have to stay way far away from violating Geneva rules visavi interrogation. But does our intelligence agency have to? No, I don't think so.

As far as Gitmo, there was a further quote from Patreus, it sounds like the responsible closing of Gitmo is something that he stands behind. I guess I just have to agree to disagree on that one having been down there and seen it, I just think it works. I hate to say that, I know there's a whole bunch of other considerations that we use to make decisions nowadays, i.e. does it feel good? Does it make other people that we're fighting against feel good? Does it ... you know I don't buy the theory that there was a lot of right-minded people over there who were driven over to the Jihadist side by the existence of Guantanamo Bay. I just don't. I think that they're crazier than that to think that they sit there with a check list and say "well, I was on the right side of this just enjoying my tea this morning, but they haven't closed that Gitmo down. I'm gonna become a Jihadist." I don't buy that. I think they're crazy, I think what runs through their veins is croaking westerners, infidels, and Jews, and they get up every morning and that's their life blood. So, I think think it runs a lot deeper and it's a lot more corrosive, than them, like I said,than them going over a punch list of things that bother them and the indignity of Gitmo is not a big ticket, I think.

I think that -- I'd be surprised if Patreus doesn't change down the road if they start to find that everybody has a reason they don't want this. And indeed, they won't put wind farms in most places. You really want a terrorist out there spinning his 'copter hat? Of course you don't. They're going to end up saying, "Guess what? They might be in the best place right now." As I would be willing to come around if I was presented with enough evidence, and again I concur completely with Patreus that our soldiers should adhere strictly to Geneva techniques when it comes to interrogation. I do think that in 99% of the cases so should our CIA, even though these guys on the other side have not adhered to Geneva at all. I also have to leave open the possibility that somewhere along the line, if it dictates it, if it's going to save lives, that you waterboard them. If you want to call that torture, fine. Whatever you want to call it, I'm just calling it "waterboarding".


Dennis: I think I was somewhat inconsistent in the last couple of segments when I queried the caller as to why John McCain's opinion on torture would change his mind and then saying Patreus would change my mind. All I can say about John McCain is, he was tortured so I certainly understand some sort of reflexive aversion to it. I'd be intrigued to find out if John was ever waterboarded, though. I know he was tortured. I have not heard him specify that he was waterboarded. And indeed if he was given the "Torture a la Carte" menu in the Hanoi Hilton, it probably would've been the one that he would have preferred.

Another of my favorite Dennis observations is his feeling that if waterboarding is torture, then it's got to be the Nerf® of torture.

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