C’mon In, Hannity — The Waterboarding’s Fine!
Via Raw Story, another media figure has had to learn the hard way that water torture — excuse me, waterboarding — really is torture, after all:
Chicago radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided he’d get himself waterboarded to prove the technique wasn’t torture. It didn’t turn out that way. "Mancow," in fact, lasted just six or seven seconds before crying foul.
… "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke," Mancow told listeners. […]
… "If I knew it was gonna be this bad, I would not have done it," he said.
Mancow joins Christopher Hitchens and at least two other journalists in learning what Steve Benen points out should be obvious to anyone ("If this wasn’t torture, we wouldn’t have done it. The whole point is to do something so horrific that the detainee would feel compelled to give up information."). But even if this is the least efficient way in the world to teach people morals, maybe in these times we have to settle for what we can get.
Matt Yglesias nominates Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard to be next in line for personal education, but I think most of the rest of us would agree the most worthy "volunteer" is Sean Hannity of Faux News.
However, I’ll hasten to add that I understand those who argue that these grotesque experiments should stop. First of all, waterboarding is wrong. It’s torture, and that’s nothing to joke about. Even worse, the more people think of it as something that’s "cool" to try, the greater the odds that some teenager somewhere will do it carelessly and die.
Even so, there’s a point to calling the bluff of the posturing phonies who advocate torture publicly. As anyone familiar with framing understands, the purpose of their argument is to shore up the right-wing pose of being morally self-assured tough guys who are willing to do what it takes to defend America.
The truth, which isn’t brought up nearly often enough in the cable back-and-forth, is exactly the opposite: At a time when America was tested, these cowards folded, throwing in the hand on the precise values they should have been protecting.
So I’m not above rude tactics in pointing out their weakness, their irresponsibility, and their hypocrisy. If Sean Hannity and others won’t back up their talk about waterboarding, I’m fine with humiliating them using the same derisive language they’ve been aiming at the left for years.
They’re cowards, and moral failures. And they need to be told that to their faces.