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.