Does Anyone Else Have a Problem With This?
I'm not just talking about Condi Rice and John Ashcroft officially making torture a firm American policy back in the summer of 2002. I'm not even talking about Rice, Bush, et. al. being exposed as liars by the chronology that was released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sure, we all remember Rice getting up on her hind legs and saying, "We don't torture." Who cares? We know that Rice and every Republican is a lying cunt who couldn't be factual even by accident.
What I have a problem with is MSNBC, AFP, and virtually every Goddamned US news outlet that has reported on this story insisting on labeling Abu Zubaida as "the first high-value detainee in CIA custody", to quote MSNBC or to quote AFP's Michael Mathes, "the agency's first high-value Al-Qaeda detainee." Hm. Nice to know our MSM can all get on the same page once in a while.
Now, this would seem to give credence to the "torture is necessary to national security" meme widely circulated by Dick "Twister" Cheney if you happen to have about 150 pounds of brain damage between your ears and vote Republican every other year. It helps to believe that Abu Zubaida was a terrorist mastermind and that Rice verbally signing off on torture presents merely a stiff constitutional challenge and one to the Geneva Convention.
But let's not forget that Zubaida was such a fuckup that he could only be trusted with making travel arrangements for the wives and kids of actual al Qaida terrorists. The al Qaeda front office, as would the CIA come to find out later, already knew that Abu had a screw loose. When he was captured, the CIA found a diary written in four distinct voices, no doubt ones that Zubaida actually heard in his head.
This "first high value detainee" gave the CIA absolutely no actionable intelligence whatsoever, as with KSM, who was waterboarded exactly 100 times more than Zubaida. Zubaida was a mentally ill man to begin with and White House-sanctioned, CIA-administered torture didn't exactly make him any more lucid.
Before we can gather an appreciation of just how heinous waterboarding is, we need to disabuse ourselves of a couple of ridiculous notions: One, that it's a little more OK to torture by this method as long as George W. Bush or some other maniac calls him a "high quality terrorist detainee."
Secondly, let's stop calling waterboarding "simulated drowning." It is interrupted drowning, a form of torture that will result in death if not stopped.
And when you've lost William Kristol, who'd recently called waterboarding, "simply disgraceful", then you've lost Middle Wingnuttia.