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As my colleague Ken Silverstein pointed out, Joe Lieberman made a joke about waterboarding at last night’s Alfalfa Club Dinner. This is an excellent example of “humor” revealing the mindset of the man who utters it. As Thinkprogress reminds us, Lieberman is linked to Dick Cheney and John Yoo and distinguished from his friend John McCain in that he doesn’t consider waterboarding to be torture. Here’s how he explained his stance to an incredulous Connecticut Post:
“It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological.”
The suggestion that the individuals are in no real danger wouldn’t likely be persuasive to the more than 160 individuals who died in detention, a substantial portion of them with injuries linked directly to the Bush Administration’s torture techniques. As the Bush Administration’s own Susan J. Crawford noted, torture is determined by the cumulative physical and psychological effect that the techniques applied have on the subject—which is why Lieberman, who holds a law degree, has things completely wrong.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”