Water Bored

Senator Kit Bond of Missouri on waterboarding:

GWEN IFILL: I just would like to — but do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?

SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. It's like swimming, freestyle, backstroke. The waterboarding could be used almost to define some of the techniques that our trainees are put through, but that's beside the point. It's not being used.

There are some who say that, in extreme circumstances, if there is threat of an imminent major attack on the United States, it might be used, but I certainly would not favor it in any circumstance…

Is it like freestyle and backstroke swimming because water is involved?  Or is it like those things because there are different ways of doing it?  This is more than just a perverse water analogy.  It's a complete non sequitur–the question asks whether water boarding as Ifill described it is torture, but Senator Bond replies to a different question–and then suggests his reply is besides the point.  Maybe we could put this another way.

GI: Do you eat herring, Sen. B?

Sen B. There are lots of kinds of herring–pickled, creamed, smoked.  But the different kinds of herring has nothing to do with this.  My store doesn't carry herring.

Maybe there are circumstances in which herring could be sold at my store, but I wouldn't favor that. 

2 thoughts on “Water Bored”

  1. Boy, it sure is fun to talk in hypotheticals.

    What is it going to take to get one of these people to cite a specific example of their “24” Jack Bauer-fantasy scenario with ticking time bombs? Or, as Bond calls it, an “imminent major attack” (note the need for two adjectives, hence two times the subjectivity and twice the openness to interpretation).

    This hypothetical is brought up so often that I think it is considered plausible simply through repetition. It’s nice how we defend a practice we “could” use (and regularly do) with a scenario that “could” happen (but never has).

    Until someone cites evidence to the contrary, torture remains an effective method of getting someone to say whatever he or she thinks will appease the torturer.

  2. As a Show-Me stater, I was proud to have the following letter published on the Op-Ed pages of the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” – as well as sending a FAX of it to Sen. Bond:

    During Sen. Bond’s recent appearance on PBS in an interview with Ms. Gwen Ifill, the following exchange occurred:

    IFILL: I just would like to ó but do you think that waterboarding, as I described it, constitutes torture?

    SEN. KIT BOND: There are different ways of doing it. Itís like swimming: freestyle, backstroke.

    So let me see if I can follow your logic here:

    Being suffocated is like holding your breath

    Radiation burns are like lying out in the sun too long

    Stab wounds are like having your ears pierced

    Tsunamis are like good surfing waves

    Sleep deprivation is like pulling an all-nighter

    Putting someone on the rack is like advanced yoga

    Waterboarding is like swimming?!?

    Sir, one would just have to believe that family vacations at the beach must have totally sucked for the Bond children.

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