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Friday, February 08, 2008

A "shocking the conscience" primer

We've learned a lot about waterboarding this week. Our Leader made a commitment to protect us from fear by pledging to commit acts of what we once called torture. The new Grand Inquisitor, Alberto II, had the Chosen One's back, noting that the legal definition of torture underUS law is anything that "shocks the conscience" and that such standard can only be judged by the value of the information the not-torture provides. For instance, you wouldn't be committing torture if you waterboarded a guy and learned that he was about to commit a "24" (like the TV show) level atrocity. He also carefully explained that he couldn't prosecute an inquisitor even if the waterboarding only yielded evidence that the suspect was considering wearing white after Labor Day, because it's not clear to him what "shock the conscience" means. And just in case that answer wasn't good enough, he expanded on it in later testimony, saying that water boarding was OK, because the Justice Department once believed it was.

I understand many of you are still confused, so I'm going to give you a couple of examples I found in the Warblogger's Handbook:

1) Jack Bauer waterboards Wiley J. Coyote and learns of a plot Mr. Coyote hatched with the Clintons to murder a portion of the population of Mena, Arkansas by rigging at least 732 ACME anvils to fall on their heads.
Ruling: Not torture. The anvils could have killed a lot of people so waterboarding does not "shock the conscience."

2) Jack Bauer waterboards J. Wellington Wimpy and learns that he never pays anyone on Tuesdays for the hamburgers he eats today.
Ruling: Not prosecutable because the Inquisitor General isn't sure what "shocks the conscience" means.

3) Jack Bauer waterboards Bugs Bunny and learns that he often dresses like a really hot female bunny and kisses men.Ruling: Not prosecutable because the previous Inquisitor General was OK with it.

A helmet tip to the General's Official Web Designer (new design coming very soon).

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