Does anyone else ever wake up in the morning, thinking they’ve entered a parallel universe where up is down, good is evil, black is white, and–

–and Americans actually have a serious national debate about whether or not to torture captives?

When I was a child, growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, such a discussion would have been inconceivable. Torture, back then, was something the Soviets did. It was something that happened in backwater, third world countries. It was a throwback to the Dark Ages. Our refusal to even consider using torture was one proof of the superiority of our American system.

Not any more. Day after day, if you have the stomach for it, you can hear the squealing voices of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and lesser right wingnuts openly defending torture. And these are guys who promote themselves as true blue, patriotic Americans!

These lunatics, who still make fun of Bill Clinton’s ability to twist words, insist on calling it “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That sounds so much nicer than “torture,” don’t you think?

If such “techniques” do not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment,” then why use them only on prisoners in the phony War on Terror? If you really can get “reliable, actionable intelligence” from torture, then why not use it more often?

Let’s use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on pot smokers. After all, it isn’t torture! And you might get some important information, like who they bought the pot from, and whether their source also has meth, heroin, and LSD. You might be able to prevent the next grocery store robbery that the drug addicts plan in order to get money to buy their drugs.

I find the task of objecting to torture unusually tiring, because it is so unbelievable that we are–in the United States of America–even having such a discussion. In upcoming blogs, I shall answer as many of the self-contradictory defenses of torture as I can, in between bouts of throwing up in the waste paper basket at the thought of having to do so.

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