They're talking torture over at The Corner. John Derbyshire has been trying to revive the It's Just Like A Frat House defense -- thinking, no doubt, of the outtake from Animal House where John Belushi crammed a glowstick up Tim Matheson's ass, or perhaps the little-known sequence in Old School where Will Ferrell was beaten to death. Jonah Goldberg took a different tack, printing this letter from a reader:
After I was captured, my hands were tied behind my back and
I was struck repeatedly in the face with an open hand. After enduring
the beating I was thrown on the water board, where under questioning the
enemy would drown you till the verge of losing consciousness, only to
revive you and start all over again. Then a black bag was secured around
my head and throat which made it difficult to breathe. I was confined to
a three by four foot tiger cage with a coffee can for a toilet. Loud
music blared from speakers in the compound and I was repeatedly dragged
from my cage for more beatings and interrogation. At night when it was
freezing the guards would pour cold water on me. I was deprived of any
food for five straight days.
Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well that is only part of what EVERY U.S. Navy and Air Force pilot and flight crew goes through in survival school. The Army does it for their special forces guys as well. We do this to our own people for training but we can't do it to terrorists?
Set aside all the obvious problems with that comparison. Consider instead those last seven words: "but we can't do it to terrorists?" Between Derbyshire and Goldberg's correspondent, the torture apologists seem to operate in two modes -- one in which they can't accept the fact that the abuse rises to the level of torture, and one in which they can't accept the fact that not everyone being tortured was a terrorist. I guess you have to hold both of those thoughts in your mind at once to realize just how enormous a stain this scandal leaves on everyone involved in it.