Ticking bomb, bitches

I hesitate to post about this, since Cohen begins with “Blogger alert” and agrees that torture is a “moral abomination”, but nevertheless it’s a fascinating glimpse into contemporary Beltway media thinking:

But where I reserve a soupçon of doubt is over the question of whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually work. That they do not is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left, who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.

Cheney, though, is adamant that the very measures that are now deemed illegal did work and that, furthermore, doing away with them has made the country less safe. Cheney said this most recently on Sunday, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Those policies were responsible for saving lives,” he told Bob Schieffer. In effect, Cheney poses a hard, hard question: Is it more immoral to torture than it is to fail to prevent the deaths of thousands?

It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism. You know the drill: (a) we live in a dangerous world filled with “messy” choices and (b) it’s important to challenge complacent “consensus” by thinking “outside the box.” It’s why Bill Saletan has to “soak his head” in white supremacist propaganda and compare those who reject racial supremacism to those who reject evolution. It’s why Pinochet should be lauded as a hero, not condemned as a mass murderer. It’s why the public needs to hear Amity Shlaes’s distorted New Deal revisionism over and over again.






124 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    On the one hand, torture is a war crime and many, many people – not just ivory-tower bleeding-heart intellectuals, but people who know about torture first-hand like John McCain and Bob Baer – say it almost always doesn’t work.

    On the other hand, batshit-crazy unindicted war criminal Dick Cheney – who of course has nothing to hide – says it works and has saved the country countless times from ticking-timebomb scenarios.

    Sounds like a fair and balanced debate to me.

  2. 2
    gbear says:

    Sounds like no one clued Cohen in to the fact that Cheney is completely full of shit.

  3. 3
    Changeroo says:

    Me thinks that perhaps you should ease back a tad on the crack or whatever it is that you’re ingesting tonight. You could burst a blood vessel or something….

  4. 4
    Calouste says:

    “Measures that are now deemed illegal”?

    They were deemed illegal since at least the Spanish war of 1898.

    And I can’t be arsed to point out all the other lies in that piece. But then again, it’s the WaPo, what do you expect?

  5. 5
    r€nato says:

    @gbear: Everybody has clued Cohen in to the fact that he himself is completely full of shit, and yet he still has a job.

  6. 6
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    God, I hope there’s something to this report. Then again, Cheney and the Beltway media whores had their sense of shame surgically removed years ago, so I guess it won’t make any difference one way or the other.

  7. 7
    Rosali says:

    Jesse Ventura was on Larry King tonight and was actually making sense. He called Cheney a coward with 5 deferments who is now a chickenhawk praising torture. He made the point that, if torture works, why have we still not found Osama bin Ladin? It seems like Osama’s location would be one of the most important pieces of information we would want to get out of those fruitful waterboarding sessions.

  8. 8
    Funkhauser says:

    Why, how would we know, except to go look up studies that have been done on this very subject?

    Say, e.g., BUFACCHI, VITTORIO (2006). Torture, Terrorism and the State: a Refutation of the Ticking-Bomb Argument. Journal of Applied Philosophy 23(3)

    Seriously, Richard Cohen, you’re a highly paid opinion writer but a really lazy piece of doodoo. Retire.

  9. 9
    used to be disgusted says:

    Hey. Wait. Genocide could be good for housing prices?

    That sounds fascinating. Tell us more.

  10. 10
    Zifnab25 says:

    Sure, seasoned interrogators say it’s a waste of time and resources, citizens at home and countries abroad find the practice abhorrent, and terrorist networks use it as a massive morale boost and fund raising drive, but Dick Cheney said…

    Fuck you very much Richard Cohen.

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    Genocide could be good for housing prices?

    I don’t know, I was just trying to think of some kind of Kaus/Saletan/Easterbrook contrarianism. The best I could do off the top of my head.

  12. 12
    Mark S. says:

    who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.

    No, I believe that the CIA was ordered to torture by their deranged political leaders who wanted evidence to justify their war with Iraq. Also, doesn’t Cohen imagine Cheney would be a little more specific if one of these torture sessions actually saved thousands of lives? It’s not like Cheney had a big moral problem with leaking classified information.

  13. 13
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Rosali: As much as I cringed when Ventura was elected, he didn’t do half-bad as governor.

    As for whether torture works or not, that isn’t on the table for me. We don’t torture. Or rather, we believe we don’t torture. We have laws that say we don’t torture.

    We.Don’t.Fucking.Torture.

    That is the bottom line to me. Any kind of false dichotomy that is being raised (“Which is more immoral? Torture or letting thousands of Americans die?”) is simply a strawman argument.

    @tripletee (formerly tBone): No kidding. Cheney and his cronies have been pushing to have more memos declassified. Well, fine. Let’s fucking declassify them all.

    Mark S., yeah, that. The White House was determined to get certain information. The CIA made it happen. The FBI was damn smart to stay out of the whole sick, sordid affair.

  14. 14
    Mr. Stuck says:

    @DougJ:

    The best I could do off the top of my head.

    I got it. Supply and demand. More of first , less of second.

  15. 15
    peaches says:

    It’s always more difficult to choose the way that doesn’t lead to giving in to your fear.

    It’s why we honor MLK, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama.

    This “debate” about torture — that it is even happening in the 21st Century — should make people think about how they live their lives.

  16. 16
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    Cheney and his cronies have been pushing to have more memos declassified. Well, fine. Let’s fucking declassify them all.

    Technically, I think that should read “Cheney and his minions“. Cronies are for the little people.

  17. 17
    Balconesfault says:

    @Mark S.:

    seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.

    What Mark said about manufacturing evidence.

    Plus, torture is a great control tactic. If people know that some evil SOB might torture them if they step out of line, they’re a lot more likely to stay in line.

    Why do you think Saddam tortured people? Because he was afraid of a ticking time bomb?

    Please.

  18. 18
    ronin122 says:

    @DougJ:

    Sadly if the beltway morons were given enough time at a typewriter within a locked room together they’d probably come up with something similar to that line within oh 3 hours or so. Is it wrong of me that I laughed at that genocide good for housing prices line, not cuz genocide is funny but because I can absolutely imagine the MSM assholes suggesting something like that if it were pertinent?

  19. 19
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @tripletee (formerly tBone): Yes, ’tis true. Minions is better. I was too pissed off to get it right. Man can’t be seen or heard for eight years, and now, he can’t STFU.

    P.S. Any writer that tosses ‘soupcon’ into an article on torture is a fucking jerk.

  20. 20
    NLB says:

    “Cheney, though, is adamant that the very measures that are now deemed illegal did work” — but wait, they WERE illegal then too! WTF Cohen?

  21. 21
    uila says:

    But where I reserve a soupçon of doubt is over the question of whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually work.

    KSM: Man, fuck your soup!

    CIA: Say it! Say chowdah!

    USA: mmmm, soup…

  22. 22
    Balconesfault says:

    @asiangrrlMN: re the FBI – was John Ashcroft actually good for something, then?

    Also – forgot to say this earlier – but with the political left, who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it. comment, Richard Cohen has established forever more that he’s not just a hack, but a douchebag of the first degree.

  23. 23
    TR says:

    Cheney, though, is adamant that the very measures that are now deemed illegal did work and that, furthermore, doing away with them has made the country less safe.

    Well, golly, when has Mister Cheney ever been wrong before?

  24. 24
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @uila: Jinx!

    @Balconesfault: It wasn’t Ashcroft. It was the FBI itself. They took one look at what was going and got the fuck out of there.

    Here is an article about it:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....9946.shtml

    TR, every time he opens his fucking mouth? Except on LGBT issues. I will give him that.

  25. 25
    DougJ says:

    Sadly if the beltway morons were given enough time at a typewriter within a locked room together they’d probably come up with something similar to that line within oh 3 hours or so.

    A million pundits on a million type-writers.

  26. 26
    demimondian says:

    Opinion sections are like assholes — every newspaper has one or more.

  27. 27
    Socraticsilence says:

    Even if you look at it ammorally The question is isn’t whether torture works- we know its almost full proof at getting what you want- the question is whether torture is an effective method of getting the truth, I mean torture got John McCain to admit to War Crimes and denounce his country- does anyone really think either of those are the truth (to McCain), and if not then how can anyone consider information gathered under torture valid. Then again I could be wrong- there could have been a rash of devil worshipping witches in Europe in 1500s.

  28. 28

    @peaches:

    It’s why we honor MLK, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama.

    Only the DFH’s honor those people.

  29. 29
    anonevent says:

    @DougJ: Actually, I would like to get that on a t-shirt.

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    Actually, I would like to get that on a t-shirt.

    Maybe with a picture of the Goposaur underneath?

  31. 31
    Socraticsilence says:

    Real Men honor Ollie North, Joe McCarthy, and Douglas McArthur- Martyrs to liberal politicians.

    That was sarcasm, the wingnut thing is scary easy. –

  32. 32

    Where is the proof that we would have had another 9/11 type attack if not for the use of these torture practices?

    I think this is a proof by assertion problem.

  33. 33

    It’s just a particular manifestation of Ends Justify Means as a governing and political model.

    We (some of us) have been saying for years that EJM utlimately isn’t compatible with democracy. I don’t believe that the people in a democracy will continue to choose EJM government when they see how evil it can become.

    If I’m wrong, the American Experiment can fail on this point. But I don’t think it will. I think the people will get this, and start choosing more ethical paths. I think that trend has already started.

    Maybe we had to sink to the Cheney level to get to this point.

  34. 34
    demimondian says:

    @DougJ: Have you seen the Cthulu in GOP colors?

  35. 35
    PeakVT says:

    That they do not is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left,

    Hmmm. I thought I thought that even if torture “works” some times that a) other non-illegal methods also work and probably produce less false information, and b) the results were extraordinarily unlikely to be worth more than the inevitable blowback. Oh, and that torture is wrong no matter what.

    But I didn’t realize that a Post columnist knows what I’m thinking better than I do.

  36. 36
    superking says:

    This just highlights the confusion in our moral thinking. As it turns out, we human beings really seem to have only two modes of moral reasoning: the deontological and the utilitarian.

    Unfortunately, both the right and the left engage in these forms of reasoning at different times. When you hear a Republican saying we shouldn’t conduct stem cell research, it’s because they want to protect human dignity, even if the human in question is a clump of cells. Liberals contend that the harm to a clump of cells is vastly outweighed by potentially life-saving medical advances. And so they talk past each other.

    When it comes to torture, though, we liberals tend to take the deontological position–that torture is an evil and that it is a violation of human rights. Conservatives counter that it may be efficacious and in any case the harm to one person is greatly outweighed by possibly saving the lives of thousands. We choose the reasoning that matches our preexisting assumptions. In one case, utilitarian, in the other, deontological, as we see fit.

    One of the problems with utilitarian reasoning that arises in these circumstances, however, is that it is reductive. The problem in this imagined situation is that someone has planted a bomb and you are responsible for stopping it from blowing up and killing thousands of people. The assumption is that torturing someone will help you achieve that goal. The problem is that utilitarian reasoning suggests that we must torture in order to stop the bomb, if we can. It does not allow any choice in the matter. Moreover, it suggests that if you do not torture, you are responsible for the deaths that result. Ultimately, what this means is that if you do not engage in one evil–torture–then you are complicit in the other evil–the deaths of thousands. And thus, we cannot be independent moral agents. Rather, we must act at the whims of the most evil men. Whatever situation they create, we must comply or be their equal.

    So, everyone say it with me: I am not responsible for the moral projects of other people. If other people wish to kill, I will try to stop them. But I will maintain my own morality in that pursuit, and if they succeed, no blame will be assigned to individuals who refuse to violate their personal standards.

  37. 37

    @PeakVT:

    Hmmm. I thought I thought that even if torture “works” some times that a) other non-illegal methods also work and probably produce less false information, and b) the results were extraordinarily unlikely to be worth more than the inevitable blowback. Oh, and that torture is wrong no matter what.

    Cheney said they already tried those and had to resort to waterboarding.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:

    Have you seen the Cthulu in GOP colors?

    That’s what the Kos Goposaur is, right?

  39. 39
    ronin122 says:

    @DougJ:

    A million? That’s a bit overkill, I think you only need about 50-60 of them. All this said, this whole idea though is making me think of a dartboard of beltway stupidity, where each area (I don’t know the proper terms) has a generality to a moron phrase they go for or would go for and just throw one at it daily and see if it comes to fruition within a week (may have to cycle the entries periodically, especially when non-news “breaking news” hits).

  40. 40
    KG says:

    @ 18/25: 100 idiots in front of 100 typewriters, I can see it now… “it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…”

  41. 41

    Let’s see. What happens if we take any other widely accepted fact, and attribute belief in that fact to a particular political party:

    But where I reserve a soupçon of doubt is over the question of whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually work ^sticking rabid woodchucks down your pants will cure cancer. That they do not is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left

    Yep. Still a big pile of dumbshit.

    Final verdict: Cohen’s a hack who lacks even a soupçon of gray matter.

  42. 42
    demimondian says:

    @DougJ: No — this is actually a Cthulu. NoNo is a brachiosaur in GOP colors.

    It’s a hidden comment, but…look here

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @Socraticsilence:

    Then again I could be wrong- there could have been a rash of devil worshipping witches in Europe in 1500s.

    I’m sure that there are plenty of religious wackos who think that there has been a rash of Satan worshiping witches for centuries, and that the only reason we aren’t finding them today is because we aren’t looking hard enough. Maybe that’s why they’re so eager to support Cheney et al. in their torturing ways: they hope to return to the good old days of torturing witches and heretics once we’ve found all of the terrorists.

  44. 44
    demimondian says:

    @KG: “No, let’s try again…It was the best of thyme, it was the wurst of thyme.”

  45. 45
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @superking: Thank you for this post. It really resonated with me, especially the last paragraph. As an added bonus, you taught me a new word–deontological. Thanks.

    @KG: Ha. That made me guffaw.

  46. 46
    DougJ says:

    It’s a hidden comment, but…look here.

    I like it.

  47. 47
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    in the afterlife, I bet President Ford is wondering what happened to his friend Dick Cheney.

    Otherwise, Shep Smith made it clear: “We do not fucking torture!”

    So it goes.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    uila says:

    I hate to say it, but the destruction of those interrogation videos is turning out to be a huge bummer. The naked barbarity of it all would give the weasels pause to write this garbage. (Not saying they still wouldn’t, mind you…)

    I mean, those Abu Ghraib photos inspired a fair amount of outrage. Now imagine some live action torture videos. I refuse to believe that the public has the stomach for the reality of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Cohen’s moral philosophizing notwithstanding…

  50. 50
    peaches says:

    Every time I think of this stupid debate, I think about the monks in Burma.

    Oh but that was a long time ago. They are brutes. They used a real stone wall.

    All that.

  51. 51
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker: Hahahahaha.

    @Robertdsc-iphone: When Shep Smith is the voice of reason…you know we’re in trouble.

    @uila: I agree. I think few people could watch a video of the torture and not call it such. As for the photos, there are more that haven’t been released. I think that would help, too.

  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism. You know the drill: (a) we live in a dangerous world filled with “messy” choices and (b) it’s important to challenge complacent “consensus” by thinking “outside the box.”

    Here’s some genuine outside the box thinking, every day we haul one of these torture apologists out in front of the cameras and shoot the bastard.

    I have a theory that the DOW will rise 1000 points if we do it.

    Obviously we must test it to find out.

  53. 53
    Mark S. says:

    What I don’t understand about the ticking bomb scenario: If you were a wild eyed jihadist bent on killing a million people with a dirty bomb, wouldn’t you just lie about the location of it while they were beating the shit out of you? By the time all of the SWAT teams got to the wrong location, the damn thing will have probably gone off. Didn’t any of these people see The Dark Knight?

  54. 54
    chrismealy says:

    This post brilliantly expresses everything I hate about the contrarian twitch. Except for the depth of my hated.

  55. 55
    glenn says:

    Isn’t it interesting that when the dirty fucking hippies want to release memos and investigate well that could mean the end of our democracy, but when Cheney wants to release memos well then maybe a little investigation of his ideas is a good idea. The irony hurts my heart.

  56. 56
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Mark S.: Yeah. No shit. Back when they allowed water to be carried through the airport security line, I would bring a two-liter bottle through. They would make me uncap it and drink from it. I would do it, but I’d be thinking to myself, “Dude, if I’m about to blow up this plane, I’m not going to quibble about drinking a little nitroglycerin.”

    glenn, when I first saw your name, I immediately thought of Beck and Reynolds. Not good.

  57. 57
    southpaw says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV4gwR8QDKg

    I wondered then as I wonder now if he might not have turned out to be a very different boy indeed if you had administered a few fatal beatings early on.

    . . . Put another way, what if fatal beatings relieve the strains on the school lunch program?

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    Didn’t any of these people see The Dark Knight?

    What they got out of it is that they are all secretly Batman in the basement and beating people up is a surefire solution to stopping the liberal menace which always dresses like the Joker.

  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    . . Put another way, what if fatal beatings relieve the strains on the school lunch program?

    Let’s be clear: fatal beatings of school children are a moral abomination. But it would be irresponsible not to consider the economic effect.

    That they would not work is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left.

  60. 60
    KG says:

    @ 45: thanks, but that was stolen from the Simpsons.

  61. 61
    PeakVT says:

    @Little Dreamer: It’s really beside the point, but how can Cheney possible prove that other methods would have never worked?

  62. 62
    Roger Moore says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I would do it, but I’d be thinking to myself, “Dude, if I’m about to blow up this plane, I’m not going to quibble about drinking a little nitroglycerin.”

    You might not quibble about it, but you might not survive it, either. Nitroglycerine (and most other explosives) is a potent vasodiolator, which is why it’s used to treat angina. A big swig of it could easily cause your blood pressure to drop enough to cause unconsciousness or death.

  63. 63
    gnomedad says:

    who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.

    I am utilitarian enough to think that torture might, just maybe, be morally justified in rare circumstances. But it should never be legal; if you’re faced with the “ticking bomb”, you do what you must and face the consequences.

    But I don’t doubt that virtually all torture is done essentially “for the hell of it”, and if it’s unpatriotic to even suspect that of “our side” we guarantee that it will happen. I thought conservatives were supposed to scoff at liberal notions that human nature could be improved.

  64. 64
    TenguPhule says:

    I am utilitarian enough to think that torture might, just maybe, be morally justified in rare circumstances.

    Obviously we need to beat this out of you.

  65. 65
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Roger Moore: Really? Thanks! I learned something else today. How much would it take? Sadly for the airport security, they only made me take a sip. Would that have been enough?

  66. 66

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Really? Thanks! I learned something else today. How much would it take? Sadly for the airport security, they only made me take a sip. Would that have been enough?

    Someone is in the process of buying herself a spot on the No Fly List.

  67. 67
    glenn says:

    Asiangrrlmn,

    True, but I like to think Greenwald has them beat. Of course I like to think a lot of things.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    How much would it take?

    OSHA says that the LD50 in rats is 105 mg/kg. Assuming that the dose is similar in humans, that would mean something like one teaspoon would be enough to kill you. It would take substantially less to make you sick enough for the crew not to want you on their airplane.

    It’s all academic anyway. Nitroglycerine is a pale yellow, oily liquid, and not something that an airport screener would tend to confuse with water unless they were very distracted. The whole idea of a liquid explosive that’s easily confused with water is more of a movie plot gimmick than a serious security threat.

  69. 69
    tripletee (formerly tBone) says:

    Let’s be clear: fatal beatings of school children are a moral abomination. But it would be irresponsible not to consider the economic effect.

    In effect, Cheney poses a hard, hard question: Is it more immoral to snuff a few elementary kids than it is to fail to prevent the deaths of thousands?

    If Cheney and Cohen had written the Wrath of Khan, Scotty and Bones would have forced Spock into the dilithium chamber at phaserpoint.

  70. 70
    KG says:

    @ Roger Moore:

    The whole idea of a liquid explosive that’s easily confused with water is more of a movie plot gimmick than a serious security threat.

    Too bad TSA uses 24 episodes as training videos

  71. 71
    KG says:

    If Cheney and Cohen had written the Wrath of Khan, Khan would have won.

  72. 72
    peaches says:

    Someone is in the process of buying herself a spot on the No Fly List

    Someone is not a female. Someone is just stiring things up because of the lack of female commenters.

  73. 73
    AhabTRuler says:

    I flew from St. Lucia to Washington, DC via San Juan PR on the day that the whole liquid explosives nonsense broke. Security was a nightmare in San Juan, as everybody on Int’l flights had to retrieve their baggage, go through C&I, then recheck luggage and then back through security screens.

    We were the last passengers on our plane, after they had held for us to get through security. The connecting flight was supposed to leave 15 mins. after we landed from St. Lucia; we left almost 3 hours late. That entire day all we had to eat was a snack pack filled with horrid plastic food from the airplane.

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @KG:

    Too bad TSA uses 24 episodes as training videos

    Yeah. It would be nice if the Republican party realized that 24 is fiction, not a documentary. Of course you could say the same thing of Atlas Shrugged.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    It’s worth reminding ourselves that incest works as well, in that it does get you laid. And the country hasn’t been attacked by terrorists since you started screwing your sister, so clearly it has broader benefits. Who wants to risk stopping that behavior?

  76. 76
    AhabTRuler says:

    From this trip. Say ‘Hello’ to my little friend!

  77. 77
    Anne Laurie says:

    It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism.

    I LOL’ed… bitterly. Great formulation, and I seem to remember a similar argument being raised as a result of the “partition” of Yugoslavia.

    And that should be Richard “Caligula’s Horse” Cohen. His continued employment as a ‘pundit’ has nothing to do with his writing skills, or even his no-doubt-genuine-sterling inoffensiveness; he’s a very public demonstration that the Media Village Idiots agree with their masters that we deserve to be represented (defended) by a dumb domestic animal whose horizons extend no farther than a warm stall and a full manger.

  78. 78
    DPirate says:

    …and none of it matters if you are willing to be kept safe in a prison. Otherwise, any argument is moot when compared to what most Americans think of America. You know, land of the free, home of the brave; Truth, Justice and The American Way.

    Why is it that people who are momentarily, in the grand scheme of things, on top or in power, always seem to think that they and their descendants will always be immune to the depredations of their peers? Hubris? Stupidity? It’s such an obviously foolish view that I find it incomprehensible that anyone at all other than the most sociopathic beings could support such things.

    I suppose it boils down to simple selfishness, which is what American culture has become based upon. Sure as shit, the Me Generation murdered the Hippies.

  79. 79

    @PeakVT:

    You’ll have to ask Cheney, I’m trying to figure that one out myself.

  80. 80
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @peaches:

    Someone is not a female. Someone is just stiring things up because of the lack of female commenters.

    peaches, if you are referring to me, I AM most assuredly female. Why would you even say this?

    @glenn: Yes, I think GG would kick both their asses.

    @Tatuagem do Sydney: Academic curiosity, my dear fake-hubby.

    @Roger Moore: Dang. So it was just sheer stupidity on their part? And, it’s stupid that they bar bringing in water now?

  81. 81
    Calouste says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yeah. It would be nice if the Republican party realized that 24 is fiction, not a documentary. Of course you could say the same thing of Atlas Shrugged.

    And that Nineteen Eighty Four was a warning, not a manual.

  82. 82

    @peaches:

    Someone is not a female. Someone is just stiring things up because of the lack of female commenters.

    Do you mean to say that you aren’t actually a peach?

    My faith in the internets is shattered.

  83. 83

    @asiangrrlMN:

    ummm asiangrrlMN, I think peaches was referring to “himself”. ;)

    There are a number of females on BJ (me included) but we are definitely outnumbered.

  84. 84
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Little Dreamer: Well, then why the block-quote a quote that is referring to me? I is confused. I would be happy to show my female creds. Um. I got nothing. You all will just have to trust that I’m female.

    @Tatuagem do Sydney: Oh, nicely done, fake-hubby.

  85. 85
    Mary says:

    The UN has just opened a case on Israeli torture as well. They, too, purport to have a ticking time bomb exception to “moderate physical pressure.” It’s not just us.

  86. 86
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I particularly like the way Cohen starts with “Now, I’m going to defend Cheney, watch out!” …chuckle chuckle, as if the opinion pages of the Washington Post, comprising Kristol, Kagan, Krauthammer, Gerson, Diehl, Will, and a host of other right wingers to moderates, sprinkled with like two “liberals”, has never defended Cheney before. Or as if it’s noteworthy in any way.

    The WAPO is the best laboratory for the myth of the liberal media that we have working today.

    The minute you’ll know that there’s anything approaching an overall “liberal media” is when it stops calling itself that.

  87. 87
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Gene Robinson is the only one worth reading on that rag.

  88. 88
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @KG:

    That was in turn a ripoff (in the commonly-practiced comedy writer tradition) of a Bob Newhart ten thousand monkeys routine from my childhood circa the 60s:

    “To be or not to be, that is the gazorninplatz”

  89. 89
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Yeah and I get the impression that they somehow think having him balances out all the right wingers.

    Kagan? Kristol? No, sorry, WAPO, you’d need to go to the absolute extremes of left to even get a start balancing that gang out, Chomsky and then some.

    Don’t hold your breath for that one.

  90. 90
    Hob says:

    @Balconesfault: Cohen really doesn’t need to establish his douchebagosity any further. He achieved the first degree in 2003. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.

  91. 91
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Oh, I know Gene is a token in more ways than one, but, Pulitzer Prize winner, bitches!

  92. 92
    burnspbesq says:

    @Zifnab25:

    What have you done with Zifnabs 1 through 24????

  93. 93
    Roger Moore says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    So it was just sheer stupidity on their part? And, it’s stupid that they bar bringing in water now?

    Assuming, of course, that you accept the old “never attribute to malice what can as easily be attributed to stupidity” thing. I think it’s a bit more complicated than simple stupidity. When the whole “liquid explosives” thing first came up, there was a momentary panic when they decided to ban all liquids. After it became obvious that the liquid explosives business was a total crock, they didn’t want to admit that they had made a mistake. The result is the current stupidity, where they’ve set up an ineffective approach but it doesn’t really matter because the threat is imaginary. All it does is to inconvenience travelers and provide more work for TSA screeners.

    Which naturally brings up this wonderful bit.

  94. 94
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Roger Moore: Ok, that was hi-larious. They also can make you buy their bottled water at ten times the price. Sigh.

  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    What have you done with Zifnabs 1 through 24????

    That is above your security clearance, troubleshooer.

    Friend Computer orders you to report to the termination chambers for reorientation.

    And remember, Friend Computer is your friend.

  96. 96
    Roger Moore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Are you suggesting that burnspbesq is a DFH commie mutant traitor?

  97. 97
    TenguPhule says:

    Are you suggesting that burnspbesq is a DFH commie mutant traitor?

    That information is above your security clearance level, troubleshooter.

    I shall have to report you to Friend Computer.

  98. 98
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @TenguPhule: Who are you to suggest such heresy?

  99. 99
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism

    Wonder why those contrarian scamps, who have no problem treating torture as an abstraction, have yet to get around to discussing the mass institutionalization of a political party whose most senior members make flat statements that the president has a secret plan to wreck the economy, or that he plans to put terrorists on welfare, or that Rush Limbaugh is preferable as a party member to Colin Powell. They must be saving their good (contrarian) stuff.

  100. 100
    gocart mozart says:

    There is only one way to find out if Cheney is lying. Torture him. I mean “enhanced interrogations”, strip him naked, smear him with feces and force him to teabag (which I hear is all the rage these days among dicks) Richard Cohen. Then ask Dick Cohen if he enjoys fucking goats. Have a goat fuck him until he says yes or begs for it to continue. Problem solved, questions answered. Then and only then can America move on. Semper Fi

  101. 101
    gocart mozart says:

    There is only one way to find out if Cheney is lying. Torture him. I mean “enhanced interrogations”. Strip him naked, smear him with feces and force him to teabag (which I hear is all the rage these days among dicks) Richard Cohen. Then ask Dick Cohen if he enjoys fucking goats. Have a goat fuck him until he says yes or begs for it to continue. Problem solved, questions answered. Then and only then can America move on. Semper Fi

    I believe they were both frat boys so this should be nothing new to them if Boss Limbaugh is to be believed.

  102. 102
    Xenos says:

    Genocide could be good for housing prices?

    See, e.g.: Manifest Destiny; Trail of Tears; History of California; ‘Good’ Indians.

    I am no psychologist, but there is something interesting in American’s ability to have a blind spot about the genocides that made our existence possible. Personally, I rarely think of the extermination of the Pequot, who had once inconveniently owned the land where I grew up.

    This is a perfect example, Dougj, even if it bubbled out of your subconscious instead of the more logical parts of your mind.

  103. 103
    MikeJ says:

    Wow. You people got me googling the games of my youth. Apparently people now play a version in which characters often survive more than one mission.

    Now I need to read up on this online play client.

  104. 104
    WereBear says:

    @superking: Thanks for the new word, deontological, and I think you bring up a good point.

    However, I find the Right Wing utilitarian on any moral issue. If it’s wrong to use blastocysts in research that has led to ways of relieving the suffering of millions, it must be even more wrong to throw blastocysts in the trash, which is the alternative.

    You’d think they’d get all worked up about that, screaming “Massacre of the Innocents” and staging demonstrations with dumpsters as props.

    But they don’t.

    So they’re full of it.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    Yoo has an article out today where he delivers a stern warning to Barack Obama. It’s about radicals.

    President Obama had better not appoint a liberal justice, because liberal lawyers are radical, and it would be wrong to foist a liberal on the country, just because Obama won the election.

    Instead we need a moderate, and Republicans will define moderate.

    People like Cohen make Yoo’s delusional arrogance possible. He wouldn’t get away with it without the choir of liberal weenies, egging him on.

  106. 106
    MR Bill says:

    Werebear@ 103:
    I have been thinking the same thing: if its wrong to destroy blastocysts in the service of stem cell research, it’s wrong to to destroy them in the service of making babies…
    But moral consistency has never been the hallmark of The Right Wing.
    And you hear Pat Buchanan denying the Catholic position on the Death Penalty and how it’s different than abortion because those embryos are “innocent life”. It’s all very strange to me…

  107. 107

    Did someone call for “female commenters”?

  108. 108

    @MR Bill: That is an excellent point which continues to hide in plain sight, it seems.

  109. 109

    […] from FireDogLake … hey, what the heck is a FireDogLake, anyway? Smells like wet dog? Balloon Juice hesitates to respond to Cohen’s “contemporary Beltway thinking” on saving […]

  110. 110
    gil mann says:

    Let’s not be too quick to denounce Cohen’s position—every minute he spends writing preposterous columns is a minute he can’t spend sexually harassing underlings.

    God, this guy skeeves me out. He’s like a William H. Macy character without the inner strength and dignity.

  111. 111
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @MR Bill:
    Your point leads to the inevitable conclusion that the components of these treasured blastocysts also deserve protection. Outlaw menstruation and masturbation now!
    Edit: And sport fucking is dead out.

  112. 112
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Cohen should retire, his columns are becoming more and more unreadable.

  113. 113
    schrodinger's cat says:

    What I don’t understand is why is the beltway pundit class so eager to brush this issue of torture under the rug. I mean, I understand Cheney is justifying his own indefensible actions but what is in it for the pundits?

  114. 114
    MBunge says:

    What would Dick Cheney have to do to lose the respect of tools like Cohen? He’s resposible for a massive foreign policy disaster that’s gotten thousands of Americans killed and 10s of thousands wounded, his behavior totally violates long established political norms and he’s spectactularly unpopular. What will it take?

    Mike

  115. 115
    grandpajohn says:

    Mike, very little really,
    just changing the {R} after his name to a (D)

  116. 116
    TenguPhule says:

    What would Dick Cheney have to do to lose the respect of tools like Cohen?

    Shoot a tool like Cohen.

    SATSQ.

  117. 117
    gocart mozart says:

    Nah, if Cheney shot Cohen in the face, Cohen would apologize.

  118. 118
    TenguPhule says:

    Nah, if Cheney shot Cohen in the face, Cohen would apologize.

    Touche.

  119. 119
    Mike in NC says:

    The Villagers’ love for Cheney can only be explained by the wild drug- and booze-fueled orgies he and Lynne hosted for the media at the Naval Observatory.

  120. 120
    Martian Buddy says:

    And you hear Pat Buchanan denying the Catholic position on the Death Penalty and how it’s different than abortion because those embryos are “innocent life”.

    Pat’s never heard of “original sin?”

  121. 121

    BODY SLAM!…

    “I’ll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
    See Also: Jesse Ventura On Cheney’s Torture Regime, Ticking bomb, bitches, Advocacy…

  122. 122
    Eric says:

    My favorite quote so far regarding this whole “is torture really torture” “debate” is from Tom Bodet, who said on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” (and I may be paraphrasing, was a couple weeks ago):

    That’s like a shoplifter saying “well, I suppose you can *call* it that, but look at all this great stuff I got!

  123. 123

    […] DougJ on why Richard Cohen keeps gleefully sucking Cheney’s dick: It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism. You know the drill: (a) we live in a dangerous world filled with “messy” choices and (b) it’s important to challenge complacent “consensus” by thinking “outside the box.” […]

  124. 124
    ShawninPHX says:

    Not to downplay this post, but if I may say: I laughed so hard at seeing the ‘headline’ that the wine I was drinking came up through my nose. The background story would be too long to tell here, but needless to say I love this post title. I will now do my best to spread the quote as much as I can in my travels.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] DougJ on why Richard Cohen keeps gleefully sucking Cheney’s dick: It’s a perfect example of the Slate/TNR/WaPo tendency towards “what if genocide is good for housing prices” contrarianism. You know the drill: (a) we live in a dangerous world filled with “messy” choices and (b) it’s important to challenge complacent “consensus” by thinking “outside the box.” […]

  2. BODY SLAM!…

    “I’ll put it to you this way: You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
    See Also: Jesse Ventura On Cheney’s Torture Regime, Ticking bomb, bitches, Advocacy…

  3. […] from FireDogLake … hey, what the heck is a FireDogLake, anyway? Smells like wet dog? Balloon Juice hesitates to respond to Cohen’s “contemporary Beltway thinking” on saving […]

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