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Mommy, What’s Waterboarding?



Remember the great harm done to the moral core of our nation when, according to the excited news reports following Kenneth Starr’s great work in life, children were asking their parents what oral sex was? Neither do I. But children can now ask their parents what torture is, how waterboarding works, and when exactly torture is a good thing. “Mommy, we’re going to play enemy combatant. Can I have some pliers to pull out Geoffrey’s fingernails?”

Can I just say, to the Representatives and Senators who just voted to overturn (or allow George Bush to “interpret”) the Geneva Conventions and half the Bill of Rights and I say this as mildly as I know how WAKE THE HELL UPYOU COMPLICIT FASCIST MORONS; BUSH HAS CAMPS PLANNED FOR SOME OF YOU, AND DANTE HAS A CIRCLE RESERVED FOR THE REST. Oh, and one more thing: oral sex feels GOOD. Torture HURTS LIKE HELL. Got it? The world needs more sex, less sadism. What exactly are you unclear on?

Remember when Bush, like O.J. Simpson on the trail of the real killer, was energetically searching the White House (not to mention consulting a private lawyer) to determine who had leaked Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent to the media? Neither do I. But if it had happened, wouldn’t it have made sense for Bush to simply subject Cheney, Rove, Libby, Armitage and a few others to a little torture until they spilled the beans?

Of course not. The slightest threat of discomfort, and these characters would have each confessed to the leak, the Kennedy assassination, and firing the secret missile into the Pentagon from the ghost jet. Just look at what fear of a vague threat of future prosecution has brought them to. Bush and gang, terrified of prosecution for violating the War Powers Act of 1996, have rammed through Congress, just before an election, a piece of legislation that removes Habeas Corpus and retroactively legalizes war crimes a piece of legislation that will quite likely be, in part or whole, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Whether the Supreme Court lets this illegal law stand or not, international courts need not. Legalizing torture and murder did not protect Pinochet or Hitler. And legalizing impeachable offenses does not protect a President from impeachment. On the contrary, it adds yet another impeachable offense to the list. And don’t think for a minute that this President isn’t scared of impeachment as well. There’s no other explanation for the Republican National Committee announcing, in conflict with every bit of evidence, that impeachment is a good issue for Republicans in the coming election. The Bush gang attacks wherever it’s most scared. The Pelosi gang falls for the bluff every time.

Because the list of impeachable offenses grows on a daily basis now, it may be helpful to list the top ten grounds for removing these thugs from office. The reasons can be found just after the main text of the U.S. Constitution. They’re labeled “The First Amendment,” “The Second Amendment,”….

Of course, I’m kidding. Bush and Cheney have destroyed much more than 10 amendments. Here are my top ten reasons to impeach:

1.-Launching an aggressive war, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, and misusing government funds to move troops to Iraq and begin bombing raids prior even to Congress’s dubious authorization to use force.

2.-Targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

3.-Arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

4.-Authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in some cases in death. Having prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross and shipped to other nations and secret U.S. bases to be tortured.

5.-Illegal warrantless spying, and lying to the public about it for years.

6.-Failing to protect New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, to provide troops in Iraq with body armor, to attempt to prevent the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, or to work to decrease global warming.

7.-Using signing statements to refuse to obey hundreds of laws passed by Congress.

8.-Stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections.

9.-Systematically using propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and keeping secret information meant to be public.

10.-Urging Congress to pass bills that will retroactively and unconstitutionally legalize a number of the crimes listed above.

DAVID SWANSON can be reached at:




David Swanson wants you to declare peace at  His new book isWar No More: The Case for Abolition.

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