Waterboarding is for pansies.

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‘You asked me once,’ said O’Brien, ‘what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.’

The door opened again. A guard came in, carrying something made of wire, a box or basket of some kind. He set it down on the further table. Because of the position in which O’Brien was standing. Winston could not see what the thing was.

‘The worst thing in the world,’ said O’Brien, ‘varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire, or by drowning, or by impalement, or fifty other deaths. There are cases where it is some quite trivial thing, not even fatal.’

He had moved a little to one side, so that Winston had a better view of the thing on the table. It was an oblong wire cage with a handle on top for carrying it by. Fixed to the front of it was something that looked like a fencing mask, with the concave side outwards. Although it was three or four metres away from him, he could see that the cage was divided lengthways into two compartments, and that there was some kind of creature in each. They were rats.

‘In your case,’ said O’Brien, ‘the worst thing in the world happens to be rats.’ [George Orwell’s 1984 Part III, Chapter 5.]

Those familiar with Orwell’s 1984 know what happens next. And if you haven’t, here’s the final scene of the movie adaptation (embedding disabled).

* * *

A scene which struck me, appropos of the following remarks from a recent exchange here at @ American Catholic:

“What John McCain suffered actually was torture. His bones were broken, for example. Induced panic isn’t torture.”

“I don’t base the definition of torture on subjective determinations. Clearly it’s an issue of prudential judgment and it is certainly clear to me, someone who has severe panic attacks, that panic is not torture.”

“If we cannot induce panic in our enemies with the intention of saving millions of lives, we can’t go to war at all. It’s as simple as that.”

Waterboarding is for pansies. If Ab? Zubaydah could withstand being waterboarded 83 times during August 2002, we’re clearly not doing it right. Let’s turn up the panic a few notches. Let’s take it one step further. Let’s put the fear of God almighty in these pathetic excuses for humanity.

Let’s go Orwellian — “Room 101” style.

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  1. Uh-oh Chris, you just made Mark Shea very, very, angry! When Shea get mad, Shea smash! However, unlike the Hulk, Mark turns purple instead of green!

  2. I think Jesus did take it up a few notches with Jezebel at the Church in Thyatira in Revelation 2:20-23, for verse 22 states quite clearly:

    “So I will cast her on a sickbed and plunge those who commit adultery with her into intense suffering unless they repent of her works.”

    All those now condemning our defense forces and CIA for using water boarding will be the very first to wail and whine and moan and cry about why more water boarding and similar coercive techniques were not used once Al Qaeda succeeds in detonating a fission or fusion weapon in a major metropolitan area.

    The Prophet Elijah was no pansie. When he was confronted with men as evil as these Islamic fanatics, he took them down to the Kishon Brook – all 450 of them – and didn’t bother with the small talk or the water boarding. He slit their throats where theyu stood. True, he got scared of another Jezebel after that. But the dogs made short work of her a little later on.

    Oh for men of God willing to stand up. Where are the Christian fighting men who stood at Tours of France and pushed back the Moors? Where are the Christian fighting men who with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary defeated the Islamic fleet of the Ottoman Turks. The Muslim infidels are back at the door of Vienna again. The day grows short and night approaches while we hear arm-chair theologians waxing eloquently from the safety of their living room about why water boarding is prohibited torture. Meanwhile, half a world away these demonic men of iniquity train little girls to be suicide bombers on Israeli school buses. Pulllleeeeaaasssseeeeee, Lord Jesus, deliver me from such insanity!

  3. John McCain is a wonderful patriot and an American hero. It is completely understandable why he has an exceptional opposition to torture…but understanding his point of view does not require complete agreement with it. Remember what the enemy was trying to get out of him – not the truth, but a lie. At no time in Gitmo have we ever attempted to get one of them to deny their religion – to deny what is most precious to them. No, all we ever wanted out of them was the truth of what they knew. There is a world of difference between a man trying to elicit a lie and a man trying to find the truth. A man trying to get another to lie is much worse than the man trying to get at the truth – even if the former never touches so much as a hair on a head, while the other uses waterboarding.

  4. I’m with you, Chris, but the danger of this kind of dark parody is that some people actually think that way! (And others can’t tell the difference.)

  5. I’m with you, Chris, but the danger of this kind of dark parody is that some people actually think that way! (And others can’t tell the difference.)

    It’s kind of a sad commentary on the state of things that this is true, but it is.

  6. But Mark, you are only looking at half the equation – the end sought. You completely ignore the means.

    So as long as you are looking for the truth, rather than trying to get someone to lie, anything goes?

  7. You cannot have a moral good when the either the object, the intension or the circumstance is evil. I know this slaps into the face of the idea that to torture one could save hundreds of lives later, but in this case the intension is an evil in order to produce a good. Regardless of the outcome, it is an immoral act. Actually there is a word for this called Proportionalism. What makes this more interesting is that we have free-choice to make this act and this is where being human is key and what God wants us to understand. God will not prevent us from committing an evil act, we make this choice on our own, what we need to better understand is that when you commit evil you must therefore accept the circumstances of that immoral act. This is something we rarely do. We act immorally, refuse to accept the act as immoral and therefore refuse to accept responsibility when the circumstances start to reveal themselves.

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