If Rudy Giuliani doubts that sleep deprivation and waterboarding are torture, why doesn’t he try them himself?
As the tough-talking Republican advocate of “aggressive questioning,” he thinks the “liberal media” exaggerate torture, so why not show them up?
New York City’s Finest could do to Rudy what U.S. interrogators are doing to suspects in the Middle East and stage it all on Fox TV because Fox knows all about it. Writers of its “24” series have come up with so many ugly torture ideas the Army asked them to stop because Iraq interrogators have been adopting them.
The torture flap erupted when Sen. John McCain said Giuliani showed his inexperience by doubting waterboarding is torture. Giuliani also said sleep deprivation isn’t torture: “I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly.”
Fox could erect a room-sized prison with transparent windows in Times Square where Giuliani will be subjected to a week of no-sleep interrogation. Unlike Iraqi prisoners, the ex-mayor will be allowed to keep his pants on and none of the interrogators will wrap a woman’s brassiere around his head, even if both his former wives offer.
To make sure Fox doesn’t go soft on Giuliani, sleep-inducing excerpts from his campaign speeches will be piped in around-the-clock, good as any barbiturates. Next, a succession of New York City detectives working four-hour shifts will take turns subjecting Giuliani to “aggressive questioning”.
Unlike Abner Louima, the man tortured in Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct Station House in 1997, the detectives will not rape Giuliani with a broom handle. But they will scream at him, call him names and shake him violently when he tries to fall asleep, maybe slapping his face now and then. They might even scream at him as they did to Louima, “This is Giuliani time!”
Fox will broadcast the Giuliani’s reality show globally, pre-empting all else for the week. Bill O’Reilly himself, a man who knows a thing or two about obscene talk (he settled a suit with a Fox lady producer who alleged he asked her to talk dirty to him on the phone) will decide how profane the detectives can talk.
(FYI, Stalin didn’t ridicule sleep deprivation. His goons called it “the conveyor belt” because when one interrogator quit another took over. Soon enough, the sleep deprived wretch would admit to any crime. One father was told his 14-year-old son confessed to writing the Russian novel “Eugene Onegin.” If it worked in Moscow under Stalin, why shouldn’t it work in New York under Bush?)
After being kept awake for a week, Giuliani will be tied onto a board and dunked repeatedly face down in a tub of water. After a few minutes, interrogators will ask: “Dick Cheney says waterboarding is not torture. Right or wrong?”
As Giuliani gets dunked, O’Reilly could explain to Fox viewers this non-torture is a grand old American custom, dating back to witch-dunking of Colonial times.
Of course, Giuliani’s Republican opponents are going to envy his exposure and demand to be non-tortured as well. Being first on Fox, though, will give Giuliani the chance to gain the experience McCain says he lacks. Afterwards, he can tell voters if elected precisely how far he will let the Pentagon’s non-torturers go. Indeed, a Giuliani presidency could usher in scores of network survival shows, starring actual Moslem and Arab suspects non-tortured before the eyes of the world. And Fox could call the series: “It’s Giuliani time!”
SHERWOOD ROSS is an American columnist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org