Monday, April 27, 2009

Torture Is A Four Letter Word

At the risk of being called a bad speller, I think torture is a four letter word. The outcry that greeted Fox anchor Shepard Smith's comments on The Strategy Room that "We're America, we don't f-ing torture", had more to do with uttering a four letter word, than courageously speaking the truth. When it comes to fundamental American values, Shep Smith knows that what's important is right and wrong, not right and left.

Contrast Smith's reasoned and principled views on torture to that of Sean Hannity. Hannity did a disservice to servicemen around the world but mocking the severity of waterboarding by agreeing to be "tortured" for charity. Our use of torture has been a rallying cry and recruiting tool for terrorists around the world, and exposes our own soldiers to the threat of being tortured themselves. Hannity probably also thinks playing video war games is the same as actually serving in the military, which he never did.

And what charity would want to benefit from the distasteful spectacle of a TV personality participating in a simulation of an act that is illegal under American and international law? The Dick Cheney Torture Fund? Hannity is smart enough to know that it's not torture if you're being doused with water by an intern on your staff, who you can be reasonably sure is not going to harm you. It's like watching a regular on a weekly TV series in a life or death situation. You know he's going to live to be on next week's show. If Hannity really wants to get the full waterboarding experience, he should have volunteered for "extraordinary rendition" from the Bush Administration and gone to a country like Syria. Maybe then he'd realize that waterboarding is torture and "enhanced interrogation" is getting good reception on your cellphone.

So thanks again Shep Smith, for telling viewers that torture is wrong, and America does not torture. And contrary to some captions accompanying the online video, Smith didn't "lose it" on The Strategy Room. He gained the moral high ground in the debate about what kind of country we want America to be.

Four letter words aren't obscene. But torture most certainly is.