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Peter King the Latest Republican to Endorse Medal for Torture

November 11, 2010

On Wednesday, New York Rep. Peter King became just the latest Republican to conclude there ought to be a prize for torture. Defending George W. Bush's admission this week that he authorized waterboarding of terror detainees, King insisted the former president "should get a medal." If that sounds familiar, it should. In 2007, Bush's failed Labor nominee and conservative columnist Linda Chavez said the same thing about the CIA's Jose Rodriguez, the man who ordered the destruction of 92 interrogation videos.
For his part, Congressman King was apparently concerned not that waterboarding is almost universally recognized as a war crime, but that the Nobel committee doesn't offer a prize for it. Bush "should get a medal" for green-lighting the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, King declared, because:

"There was no harm done. In the big picture, to hold someone's head underwater, the chance of permanent damage is minimal and the rewards are great."

Sadly, torture enthusiast King has it exactly backwards. Enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding almost certainly don't save lives, as the British government confirmed in rejecting Bush's claims this week. And the damage done by breaking U.S. law, violating international treaty agreements, shaming the United States worldwide and providing a powerful propaganda victory for Al Qaeda will be difficult if impossible to reverse.
Nevertheless, conservatives are determined to honor not only the Bush torture team, but those who helped cover up its crimes.
This week, federal prosecutor John Durham announced he will not pursue an indictment of Jose Rodriguez, Jr., the head of the CIA's clandestine service who authorized the November 2005 burning of detainee interrogation videotapes. (Other probes, including whether or not interrogators violated the law and whether CIA officials misled investigators, remain on-going.)
In any event, the mouthpiece of the right proclaim, Rodriguez, too, deserves a medal. In her December 21, 2007 column titled "Destroying CIA Tapes Deserves a Thank You," Chavez argued that the 2005 decision by Rodriguez should be lauded. Chavez expressed her gratitude that Rodriguez destroyed evidence of "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding, acts which may have violated U.S. law and American treaty commitments:

In the next few months, his name will likely be dragged through the mud, and he will be vilified as a rogue official engaged in a massive cover-up. I think he deserves a medal...
Even though he is likely to become a scapegoat, what he did was right. He protected not just his men but all of us. I, for one, thank him.

Of course, Chavez is far from alone in wanting to reward those concealing the criminality of the Bush administration. Former Fox News host and right-wing radio mouthpiece John Gibson similarly wanted to bestow honors on those who exact revenge on Bush's opponents. In November 2007, Gibson cheered the White House operation to out covert CIA operative Valerie Plame as retribution for her husband Joe Wilson's July 2003 op-ed debunking President Bush's bogus claims about Iraq seeking uranium in Niger. Ending the classified career of CIA agent deeply involved in critical nuclear proliferation work and compromising her global network was essential, Gibson argued, because "this was about an anti-Bush cabal at the CIA" that needed to be "rooted out." Again, this right-wing water carrier declared, there ought to be a medal:

"I'm the guy who said a long, long time ago that whoever outed Valerie Plame should get a medal. And if it was Karl Rove, I'd pin it on him myself."

Of course, as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Bremer, George Tenet and Tommy Franks would all attest, George W. Bush never needed anyone's help in pinning medals on the miscreants and bunglers of his administration. As for Bush himself, Peter King laments, there oughtta be a medal.

10 comments on “Peter King the Latest Republican to Endorse Medal for Torture”

  1. I agree with you- we should tickle terrorists with puppy dog tails and rainbows, and then impeach anyone who tries to be tough or mean to these good, honest, hardworking psychoic evil terrorists. Seriously, you oughtta get a medal for ignorance and stupidity- Bush worked his tail off to make our nation more safe, and whether you agree with all of his policies or not, you better be happy to concede that fact.

  2. It must be wonderful living in your delusional, rainbow filled world. I would suggest you stop looking up at the sky, or like turkeys, you will drown when it rains. we waterboard turkeys??? We are horrible people.

  3. Conservative Teacher: You must be kidding me. Nobody is proposing to "tickle terrorists." The fact is that torture is not only illegal, but produces no credible information.
    If someone were to torture you for information, I can assure you that after being repeatedly abused due to your continual denials, you will eventually "admit" that you have knowledge of ____________, just so that they will stop torturing you. If you're being tortured, you will say anything to make it stop, excluding John McCain.
    & "Bush worked his tail off to make our nation more safe?" How exactly did he do that? By invading two countries which had nothing to do w/ the 911 attacks? His administration had prior knowledge that the Pent. and the Towers would be attacked before it happened, not including the warnings that we received from other countries.
    The FAA alone received over 50 intelligence reports from their security dept. which identified Bin Laden/Al Qaeda as a security threat just from the spring/summer of '01.
    By authorizing the Patriot Act? which is a clear example of the gov's infringement of individual rights, gross' violation of American citizens' reasonable expectation of privacy, etc. Don't conservatives always whine about Big Government overstepping its bounds? How come that never applies when y'all are doing the overstepping?
    By authorizing torture techniques bc Bush's lawyer told him it was ok, knowing that it would produce unreliable results?
    Seriously, tell me... Do you really feel safer?
    How delusional are some of you Americans? Turn off Fox News and stop being bullshitted by the rich bastards who want to cut their taxes, allow corporations more rights that humans, deny you and your children affordable healthcare, and pass along the debt to my generation.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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