TALK RADIO'S TORTURED ARGUMENTS
by Steve Young
Steve Young columns
when the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq began to mount?
Rush Limbaugh told us that we had to put it all into perspective. There were more deaths from California automobile accidents. I'm sure that mollifies both the families of war and highway deaths. Yep. A killer competition. Which is worse? Better yet, which is better? Why not ask the parents of a son or daughter who is killed in either? How about the children of a father or mother killed by a roadside bomb on a highway in an Iraq? Wow. The Daily Double.
Then, when Enron went under and sent the futures of ex-employees into a blind mistrust of anyone corporate, Rush hailed the spirit of American enterpreneurism, and that for many victims of Lay-Skilling et al, it actually was not all that bad. In fact the Texan greedmongers had created, not a tragedy, but an opportunity.
That el Rushbo's cup of anecdotal analogies held no water when dipped into the real world of lost wages, pensions and medical made no nevermind to the headmaster of building an argument on a single dittohead's story.
With the President's crusade to continue a program that the world has considered torture for over fifty years, Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly have used their "traditionalist vs secular progressive (SP)" culture war to construct their Christian Values explanation of what the W's program really means for their fans.
In this case, those in Blame-America-First crowd, like Republican senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Warner, as well as former secretary of state Colin Powell, are all military veterans with a personal knowledge of torture and laws created to keep us from becoming what and whom we abhor.
Now a cynic might say that these fellows may know better than military skipsters like Rush, Sean and Bill. But cynics are surely just part of the B.A.F crowd.
O'Reilly has used his personal interviews with three military interrogators to poo-poo what thorough investigations have detailed. He summarizes the prisoner treatment as a combination of cold rooms and listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. How cold, how loud, how long are never part of his argument.
In his interview with Human Rights Watch counsel and former Air Force captain, Katherine Newell-Bierman, who quoted the 9/11 Report to dispute "an article" Bill and his crack research team had found to support the no-spinster's contention that our torture wrenched new and important information to catch a bad guy.
O'REILLY: This is the debate. Now you have to understand this is the debate. This guy broke, Zubaydah -- according to this article. I wasn't there. According to the article he broke because of this treatment and he gave up Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.
NEWELL-BIERMAN: He told us stuff we already knew, Bill. He told us Khalid Sheikh .
O'REILLY: That's what you say. Not what the CIA says.
NEWELL-BIERMAN: President Bush used him as a poster boy for these techniques and he said that Abu Zubaydah told us Khalid Sheikh Muhammad was actually Muqtar. According to the 9/11 Commission the CIA knew that in 2001.
O'REILLY: According to this article...
NEWELL-BIERMAN: I think President Bush's speechwriters gave him the most poignant example he could use and that's the one he used. That's pretty sad.
O'REILLY: If you can read then you read this article and according to the article the government official unnamed -- I will admit we don't like unnamed sources -- said that they broke Zubaydah and Zubaydah gave them up all the names that they need to get to prevent further terror attacks. Now I'm going to believe that unless you can prove it differently and you can't.
There ya go. Infallible proof that torture saves American lives. Poor Captain Newell Bierman. No wonder so many are too afraid to face Bill. His hard-read articles will smash your weak, in-depth, expert-led probes every time.
Bill has condensed his opponent's stand as passively settling for "name, rank, and jihad number" from suspects. Clever, ay?
The Lords of Loud "Love Anything We Do" (LAWD) crowd have no problem with our network of secret prisons and abusive methods of holding terrorist suspects indefinitely, without charge and without access to lawyers or even the International Red Cross.
Bill and the boys may have reasons to use "cold cells and rock and roll" to describe President Bush's program of induced hypothermia, where naked detainees are repeatedly doused with water, ear-drum bursting music and waterboarding, a torture technique that simulates drowning.
Providing their listeners with the whole truth is not one of them.
Steve Young writes on talk radio for the Huffington Post and his "Lords of Loud" column in the Albion Monitor. He is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful." Then again, you might want to purchase his new wacky kiddie novel
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Albion Monitor September
14, 2006 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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