Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In Republican America, it’s Always “Giuliani Time”

Call me a wild-eyed optimist (you wouldn’t be the first), but I am salivating at the chance to see any of these whack-jobs try to run away from this garbage in the general election.

The whack-jobs to which I refer are the angry white men who are running for the Republican presidential nomination, and the garbage is their, well, dare I dignify them with the label “ideas”?

Let’s look at some of the comments from Tuesday night’s Republican softball game debate regarding torture. Moderator Britt Hume pitched some absurd scenario about a multi-city nuclear attack by terrorists, and then asked candidates about whether they would endorse “enhanced interrogations techniques,” including “waterboarding.” Rudy Giuliani had this to say:

GIULIANI: In the hypothetical that you gave me, which assumes that we know there is going to be another attack and these people know about it, I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they can think of. Shouldn’t be torture, but every method they can think of.

HUME: Water boarding?

GIULIANI: I would say every method they could think of, and I would support them in doing that because I have seen — [applause] — I have seen what can happen when you make a mistake about this and I don’t want to see another 3,000 people dead in New York or any place else.

And, the mouth-foaming xenophobes’ favorite fringe candidate, US Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO—yes, some folks actually elected this guy) thought that since he was on FOX, he’d plug 24:

I just say that it’s almost unbelievable to listen to this in a way. We are talking about it in such a theoretical fashion. You say that nuclear devices have gone off in the United States, more are planned, and we are wondering about whether waterboarding would a bad thing to do? I’m look[ing] for Jack Bauer at that time, let me tell you. [applause] There is nothing — if you are talking about — I mean, we are the last best hope of Western Civilization. So all of the theories that go behind our activities, subsequent to these nuclear attacks going off in the United States, they go out the window. When we go under, western civilization goes under. So you better take that into account and you better do every single thing you can as President of the United States to make sure, number one, it doesn’t happen, that’s right. But, number two, you better respond in a way that makes them fearful of you, because, otherwise, you guarantee something like this will happen.

Indeed. It’s the “don’t mess with America because it’s ruled by a crazy SOB and there’s no telling what he might do” theory of deterrence. (Hey, it’s worked so far, uh, yeah, well. . . moving on—)

But, really, why even pretend to be a city on a hill when you’ve got a prison on an island? Which brings us to Guantanamo, and Mitt Romney’s modest proposal:

I am glad [detainees] are at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.

So, wait, you want to give the detainees more room, or lock their lawyers up with them, or maybe you just want to signal that on inauguration day 2009, it will be “round up the usual suspects” squared?

Really folks, is there a serious man or woman out there—one who is not drawing an administration paycheck, anyway—that thinks Guantanamo has been a net plus in the “war on terror?” Well, at least I have a new nickname for Romney: Mitt “double Git” Romney.

Also, note that the partisan Republican crowd in South Carolina Tuesday, applauded after Giuliani and Tancredo praised torture. Those are the politically involved people who will be picking their party’s standard-bearer!

The torture that routinely goes on at Guantanamo, or at various secret sites in other countries, has seriously tarnished America’s reputation and undermined its authority throughout the world. Along with Abu Ghraib, these examples of US juris(im)prudence are the best recruiting tools a terrorist could have. The policy, and the false bravado that accompanies it, also puts American servicemen and women in greater danger of being tortured themselves. (Don’t just believe me, Colin Powell said it, too.)

Two-thirds of Americans think the US should abide by international treaties and change the way it treats detainees as prescribed by the UN Commission on Human Rights. Even more think we should allow international courts to monitor our compliance with international treaties—even a majority of Republicans think so! So what country are these Republicans running to be president of?

If a Democratic nominee gets to face off against one of these guys in a debate this fall, and a question about torture or Gitmo comes up, I just hope that the Democrat takes the time to pause, look quizzically at the angry white man across the stage, and say something like, “I’m sorry, I’m just taking a moment to absorb your clueless, venal, soulless, lack of humanity.”

And if the Republican nominee happens to be America’s Sadist Mayor Sadist, I hope our candidate has the gumption and spark to say, “America can’t afford another Giuliani time.”

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

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