Saturday, November 04, 2006

Comedy Signs: How Did the Torture Joke Play?

Remember the good old days when politicians would lie right before an election, instead of all the time? The inaccuracies were called campaign promises such as "Read my lips - no new taxes." Of course, President Bush has made that tradition sort of quaint and old-fashioned. You know, like the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and the rule of law. And the way he’s done it is by lying all the time.
For this President lying is like breathing with a little more sound. And one of his favorites is to say, "America does not torture."


CAROL D. LEONNIG AND ERIC RICH, WASHINGTON POST - The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in
secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the
"alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them
to talk.

The government says in new court filings that those interrogation
methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security
secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys
-- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage."
Terrorists could use the information to train in counter-interrogation
techniques and foil government efforts to elicit information about their
methods and plots, according to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton on Oct. 26. . .

Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has
represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't
even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements
that are the basis for them being held. Kafkaesque doesn't do it
justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.'"

Isn’t that great? America doesn’t torture and if the people we tortured tell a court about it, it could help the people we’re going to torture, prepare for it. But America doesn’t torture.

Right now we are being inundated with pundits predicting how this election will turn out. They do polls and I write jokes. Let me tell you what I’ve learned about America’s opinion of the Bush administration and torture.
This past week I had 5 jokes on National TV. One was about Dick Cheney waterboarding trick-or-treaters on Halloween till they gave up their candy. It wasn’t too long ago that any joke about our leaders would be met with an uneasy laugh, at best. The audience would chuckle but they would look around as if they could get in trouble.

This time the joke got a big laugh. Of course, that’s TV. How would the staid world of newspapers react? Would it be republished in the Sunday Oregonian, for example? The answer is yes, and what that tells me is the President’s credibility is pretty well shot. In short, he's become somewhat of a national joke, himself. A few years ago you couldn’t make fun of these people. Now a line about the Vice President torturing children makes it into the newspapers. Credibility? Respect? You tell me it isn’t over for this bunch.


Post a Comment

<< Home