You Probably Can Get Fooled Again

« November 2005 »

First, a note to people who read You Are Dumb via their Livejournal "friends" lists. It may have seemed to you that yesterday's column lacked the kind of vigorous attention to detail You Are Dumb Dot Net is famous for. This is, of course, your fault.

If you choose, freely, to enjoy this site with a technology that falls outside the purview of my retroactive infallibility, then you have to expect, every once in a while, to see things that as far as I'm concerned, never happened. And certainly weren't caused by too many hours of "Guitar Hero".

And speaking of alternate realities, it's about time we took a look back at the Bush Administration's views on torturing alleged terrorists. Now, a year or so ago, a strange schism happened in the fabric of space-time.

In a bubble around the presidential podium, we were being told that the United States does not torture prisoners. Out in the actual world, however, Alberto Gonzalez and the Justice Department were checking, on behalf of the president, if it happened to be OK to torture prisoners.

Many of us noted, at the time, that it was odd to be trying to justify something you were not, and had no intention of, ever doing. We were told, by delusional lying fucks, that it was merely a technicality, a legal analysis done for its own sake. In the end, nothing came of it, and Bush got re-elected.

Yesterday, Dubya once again felt the need to assure the nation, from his podium, "We do not torture."

Out in the actual world, however, Dick Cheney has locked horns with John McCain over a law that would expressly prohibit the US from torturing prisoners. Cheney wants an exemption for the CIA. This is roughly equivalent to passing a law making it illegal to throw footballs, then exempting quarterbacks.

Once again, we note the contradiction. Once again, we are provided with an explanation. This time, it's to preserve the flexibility and number of options the President has at his disposal in the war on terror. We do not torture, we will not torture, but don't outlaw torture, because we might have to torture. And all that other stuff we got caught doing isn't really that tortury.

Which means we can add one more thing to the lexicon of George W. Bush statements that proved to be bullshit, alongside "restoring honor and integrity" and "not just what is legal, but what is right":<?p>

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me... can't get fooled again."

Because you know what? We, as a nation, will be all too willing to get fooled again. We'll let them spin it, and a lot of us will decide, even if they are torturing people, it's OK because they'll only do it to dirty brown foreigners who hate our freedoms.

So it's a damn good thing John McCain decided the political wind was blowing in the right direction. The man who hugged President Bush after Abu Ghraib is now vowing to add his anti-torture amendment to every major bill in Congress until it gets signed into law.

Which means that, if he succeeds. the Bush Administration will have to violate the law, cover it up as long as they can, then do everything in their power to minimize it after they get caught. Good thing they don't have any practice at that.