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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Torture: Now as American as Jim Crow

When a man who regularly whips himself and wears a strand of barbed wire tightly wound around his leg speaks out on torture, I think you have to listen to him. That's especially true if that man is also a Supreme Court Justice. That's why I was overjoyed to hear Justice Anthony Scalia weigh in on the torture issue.

I've always been very impressed with Justice Scalia's brilliant legal analysis. I particularly like how he bends, twists, and ignores precedent and hundreds of years of legal scholarship to make the law fit his own world view. He's like an artist who paints roses a bright shade of blue while loudly proclaiming that anyone who says roses are red must be a lunatic.

That's exactly what he did when he gathered up all the legal gravitas he could muster and declared that torture is constitutionally acceptable because it is not technically punishment in a legal sense. The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment does not apply in his analysis. And he's right. Torture is an interrogation technique, not a sentence.

Sure, there will be those who will respond by saying that he's ignoring the Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. I say screw them. They don't understand Justice Scalia's analytical technique. Ideological precepts are far more important than any silly little legal technicality like a protection granted under the Bill of Rights. Ideological precepts take precedence. Things are much simpler that way.

And that's the beauty of his analysis. It's simple. It's not limited to waterboarding. There are no 5th Amendment concerns. Carried out to its logical conclusion, it doesn't even require complicated formulas involving scenarios from the television show, 24, like those Inquisitor General Alberto II favors. Want to find out where the hippy bought the joint? Stake him spread eagle to the ground and kick him in the balls until he squeals. It's ok, if it's interrogation.

Elsewhere: John Cole leaps into the arms of treason by comparing Justice Scalia to Che.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.