A.J. DiCintio
Headlines, torture, and American values
By A.J. DiCintio
May 7, 2009

When the financial and auto industries joined the mortgage business in being sickened by a virus composed exclusively of DNA from piggishly porcine VIP's of the public and private sectors, Democrats had all the excuse they needed to deny all three outpatient status and insist they receive treatment behind the tightly closed doors of the federal ICU.

Now, every common sense person knows that when politicians shout "crisis" to justify centralizing power and wielding it under a cloak of super-secrecy, we can expect bad things to happen.

And they are happening, as illustrated by these headlines:

"We Are All Socialists Now" (Newsweek)

"We're All Keynesians Again" (WSJ and The American Spectator)

"We're All Swedes Now" (Washington Post)

However, I don't bring up those headlines to discuss their full significance — though that discussion is of crucial importance. I bring them up because they remind us that the "Torture Debate" has created another important headline: "We're All Values Voters Now."

Yes, we are, indeed, because the Liberal Church has finally given its imprimatur to the word "values."

Of course, the truth is that those who mock citizens living by Traditional Values, Small Town Values, and Suburban Values or vilify any person tainted by even a smidgen of Middle Class Values have actually been values voters all along.

Problem was that until Barack Obama showed the way by openly and proudly revealing his devotion to "San Francisco Values" and its international counterpart, "les valeurs de Paris," liberals just couldn't summon the courage to be honest about their true beliefs.

But Fate has doubly smiled upon liberals; for, in addition to blessing them with The One, she has fated into existence the pharmaceutical named "The Torture Inquisition," which has served as a values Viagra, enabling liberals, sweaty in the heat of purely political excitement, to ejaculate a million "values" in the last month alone.

Yes, a million disgusting sights and sounds. Fortunately, however, the following three examples tell us all we need to know.

"What I have said . . . is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values. I do believe that it is torture. I do not think that is just my opinion; that is the opinion of many who have examined the topic. And that is why I put an end to these [sic] practices." (Barack Obama)

"We could have gotten [the information obtained through "torture"] in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, ways that were consistent with who we are." (Barack Obama)

"America should repudiate torture . . . because . . . it degrades us and runs counter to our national values." (Richard Cohen, Washington Post)

In addition to their million emotional invocations of the "v" word, liberals (including the president) have gone gaga over two observations made by Andrew Sullivan ("The Daily Dish").

. . . First, that Churchill forbade torture because he "knew that embracing [it] was the equivalent of surrender to the barbarism he was fighting."

. . . Second, that under Churchill's guidance, Colonel Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens "refined psychological intimidation to an art form." As a result, Sullivan informs us, the colonel became the greatest interrogator who ever shot the enemy full of questions, as evidenced by the interrogation of "some 500 enemy spies" under his supervision, "all but a tiny handful [of whom] crumbled" under the "personality, tone, and rapidity of questions" that created an irresistible "blast."

A "blast" of "psychological intimidation" that could break the will of the most hardened German spy? Those Nazis surely would have preferred the waterboarding room!

The point, of course, is that Obama and other liberals who have picked up on the "Churchill Argument" aren't displaying the value called honesty because in reality, they regard whatever "Tin Eye" was doing as torture.

After all, Obama et al. insist that even a terrorist who has information about a nuclear or biological weapon to be used against an American city be questioned according to the standards set forth in the US Army Field Manual (2-22.3).

". . . and no person in the custody or under the control of DOD, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with and as defined in US law."

And if the prisoner refuses to give even his name? (In the case of terrorists, we can forget about rank and serial number.) Well, given how a liberal activist judge would define "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment," the interrogator can take the rest of the day off.

But liberals refuse to speak that truth. Instead, the same people who publish to the world every detail (including photos) of the Bush administration's "illegal" interrogation methods speak smugly of obtaining information by "other ways" without providing us with a word of description of those "ways," let alone a mountain of hard evidence about their efficacy.

Why this deceit and hypocrisy? Well, there are many reasons, including the usual ones: Liberal Arrogance ("Whatever I think is real.") and Liberal Airheadedness (Whatever I dream or hallucinate is real.").

But there is another reason liberals must huff and puff and pose and posture about torture instead of squaring with the public:

By super-landslide margins on the issue, Americans disagree with liberal visions of "our values" and "who we are."

Consider, for example, the April '09 poll by the Pew Research Center on the following question:

"Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?"

(Notice that the question allows respondents to define and imagine the concept of torture any way they wish.)

Here are the results, which, by the way, reveal an uptick in pubic support for "torture" right in the middle of the Democratic/liberal anti-torture crusade and inquisition.

Pew reports that 15% of Americans believe "torture" is "Often" justified, while 34% say "Sometimes," and 22% say "Rarely" — for a total of 71% who approve of "torture" in at least some instances.

(Goodness gracious! 71% of all Americans will be shocked to learn not only that they are a bunch of "crazy, right-wing extremists" but also that they are part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" to destroy American values.)

In contrast, 25% of the population believe "torture" is "Never" justified.

(Goodness gracious, again! To hear Obama tell it, everybody who cares about "values" and "who we are" is on his side of the Torture Debate.)

Neither do the views of Independents provide any solace for Democrats and liberals; for smack in the middle of the current uproar, 19% of Independents respond "Often," 35% "Sometimes," 23% "Rarely" — for a total of 77%.

Only 19% of Independents say "Never."

(If Democrats didn't desperately need their votes, they would, in a San Francisco minute, call Independents out as a bunch of unthinking, unfeeling, barbarian thugs.)

So, what does all this say?

Well, at the very least it says that with respect to defining and using torture, liberals and the great majority of Americans are light years apart.

It says that liberals don't know and don't want to know anything about "who we are" and the "values we hold," arrogantly presuming that everyone regards the dogmas of the Liberal Church as absolute truths.

And finally, it says that elections have consequences, in this case — because liberals consider turning the thermostat up or down in a room in which a psychopathic terrorist is being interrogated an act of "torture" — consequences that could find us staring at a television screen one terrible day, wide-eyed, mouths agape, and frozen to the bone in stupefied astonishment.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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