Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

When I obtained my Water Safety Instructor certification from the Red Cross, part of it involved jumping into the deep end of the pool with my clothes and shoes on to rescue a “simulated” drowning person. Yes, I got water up my nose, and it was unpleasant. Yes, I punched the “victim” in the gut and dragged him to the edge of the pool by his hair. Nobody died, and had the scenario been real, I might have even gotten a “thank you” for saving someone’s life.

A few years ago, I underwent a medical procedure called a “nerve connectivity” test. It involved sticking needles into my legs, running an electrical charge through them, and measuring some sort of result on a computer. The neurologist kept apologizing when I’d jump and wince. When it was over, I told him that if I was guilty of any unsolved crime he’d care to name, I would have confessed to it about the second time I got shocked. [By the way, the computer made a sound like a chainsaw when the current was applied.]

We need to transcend this “torture” nonsense. When you’re tossed out of a chopper a thousand feet over the South China Sea, the water doesn’t sting the inside of your nose; it’s hard as concrete if you haven’t figured out how to soar like an eagle before impact. Real torture leaves lasting damage, like high-pressure air applied to the sinuses, or high-amperage electricity coursing from the big toe to the most sensitive regions of the body.

Already a domestic terrorist—a double-murderer—is appealing his case on the grounds the Chicago police “tortured” his confession out of him. He may walk, because in that toddlin’ town, they call enhanced interrogation “a trimming”. If Osama Bamalama succeeds in closing Gitmo and brings the terrorists home to stand trial, how long will it be before they are appealing—and winning—their cases because Pizza Hut didn’t have their order there within fifteen minutes?

A statistic that Osama Bamalama didn’t mention in his pre-rebuttal to Dick Cheney the other day is that one-in-seven terrorists released from Gitmo have returned to jihad. We need to get off of the tired mantra that our holding captured terrorists at Guantanamo Bay is somehow serving as a “recruitment tool” for yet more terrorists. Evil is its own recruitment tool, and the recruits are more enabled by an apologetic president debasing America internationally than they are by allegations that imprisoning detainees in Club Fed is somehow abusing them. I saw how the Cuban Marielitos were detained—in American prisons on U.S. soil—in the 1980s; the conditions were far more brutal and oppressive than today’s detention regime. Where was the international outcry then? Why is Jimmy Carter not being retroactively criminalized for approving the Bureau of Prisons and Immigration & Naturalization Service policies that resulted in such brutality toward [mostly] innocent Cuban refugees? There is a double standard in play here that is frightening. Cubans were being killed by American prison guards, not through calculated acts of torture, but by spur-of-the-moment beatings and choke holds. What did the Cubans do to deserve this? They acted out in time-honored convict fashion by hurling urine and feces at their jailers, and screaming to be released. What do the terror detainees at Gitmo do? They hurl urine and feces at their jailers, and scream to be released. The soldiers who run Gitmo don’t respond by beating or choking the terrorists; they maintain their honorable bearing and shower off the filth of doing their duty as quickly as possible.

Three—count ‘em—three high-value suspects have been waterboarded, including that Khalid John Belushi look-alike who oversaw 9/11. There were 15 students in my WSI certification class. Doctors were present during the three waterboardings. There wasn’t even an EMT in the gym when we went into the pool. The trained professionals who administer the actual waterboard techniques were judicious in their application of discomfort. The trained professionals who acted as drowning victims in the WSI classes also simulate panic, attempting to drag their fully-clothed rescuers under by climbing on them, illustrating how a victim can kill their savior in dire circumstances. (I got a high grade for gut-punching my “victim”, knocking the wind out of him and ending all struggling long enough for me to take control of the situation and drag him to safety. I was also reprimanded for the technique, but the professional “victim” admitted it was surprising and highly effective. No harm, no foul, and we laughed about it over pizza and beer later.)

I am heartened that Dick Cheney is becoming the voice of the Republicans in the face of these hysterical, retroactive witch-hunts. It would be unseemly for former president Bush to speak against the current regime, in spite of the precedents set by such Democrat luminaries as Jimmy Carter and Al Gore during the Bush Administration. How Mr. Cheney must have chafed at the bit when he was in office! He must have been dying to reply to the nonsensical trash and outright slander offered up by the Democrats, but propriety restrained him. Now the rules have changed, thanks to our precedent-setting liberal friends, and the gloves are off. You go, Big Dick!