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I have no words - Input Junkie
April 24th, 2009
05:33 pm

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I have no words
Sean Hannity offers to be waterboarded for charity. Keith Olbermann offers 1K/minute, and double if Hannity admits he was in fear for his life and it was torture.

Link from The Agitator.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:redaxe
Date:April 24th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Good for them both. I just hope that Hannity has the honesty to state, publicly, afterward (if it happens), that waterboarding is torture. And doesn't then claim afterward that he "only made the admission to get the extra money for charity."
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From:dcseain
Date:April 24th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Testify!
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From:xanath
Date:April 24th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
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Not good. Torture is torture, whether we perpetrate it upon enemy combatants or idiot mainstream reporters. I don't care that Sean Hannity will remain a free man even if he undergoes a few minutes of drowning. If the point we're trying to make is that torture is always wrong, then Keith Olbermann is failing to grasp the concept on a massive scale.
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From:siderea
Date:April 25th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
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If the point we're trying to make is that torture is always wrong

I'm not sure it is. All discussions of the ethics of torture have assumed non-consensual torture. I'm completely with "non-consensual torture is always wrong."

I'm open to hearing arguments that its wrong to torture someone who completely and freely volunteers to be tortured -- say, to find out what it's like or to prove a point -- but highly dubious. Was it wrong for those SERE instructors to torture their students, who were in that training program specifically to be tortured in a controlled environment for the purpose of being hardened against it?
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From:siderea
Date:April 25th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
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Sure, I can be down with that, but then what do we call what SERE instructors do?
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 25th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
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I think the point we're trying to make is that waterboarding is always torture. Whether torture is always wrong is a slightly different argument.

I will say that the Hannity/Olbermann bet backs the notion that torture is more about spite than about getting information.
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From:lightningb
Date:April 25th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
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I don't like this kind of test -- it would be too easy for Hannity (or whoever) to just say "nope, not torture" and walk away.

Solution -- if he says it's not torture, do it again -- a day later. This gives him 23 hours to think about it ...

As to whether or not it's "really" torture, I thought Scylla had settled it once and for all.

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From:nancylebov
Date:April 25th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
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Experience is a hard teacher, but a fool will learn from no other.
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From:adrian_turtle
Date:April 25th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
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What do you mean by that? I understand you're trying to say Hannity is a fool, but what do you expect him (or anybody) to learn? Consider what happens after somebody goes through a consensual demonstration of waterboarding, at the hands of his allies, with the stated intent of proving it's not really so bad. It's going to be very difficult, physically...but there won't be any of the terror of thinking his torturers really intend to kill him. When a well-rested celebrity arranges for expert waterboarders who can do it safely, and walks into the room, with a video crew and medical team behind him, that's very different from a blindfolded, sleep-deprived prisoner getting dragged into the room by strangers who scream at him. Hannity is volunteering for the physical distress of waterboarding, but not the emotional anguish.

Most people know that physical distress can induce emotional anguish, and the physical distress of not being able to breathe causes panic especially fast. But an asthma attack, or accidental drowning, is different from being tortured by an enemy. Not nearly as distressing. The sense of personal threat is part of what makes it terrifying, part of what makes it torture.

So if Hannity concludes, "It's not really so bad," then what? Do we try to argue that consent makes all the difference in the world? Do we expect his audience to take the argument more seriously when we're talking about waterboarding than when we're talking about sex? Or do we try to escalate, push Hannity to submit to harsher and harsher treatment, at the edge of consent? Ick. I want our side to be better than that.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 25th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
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It looks as though waterboarding is so shocking that even under benign circumstances (see the Scylla link above), it registers as torture.

I'm willing to bet that if Hannity goes through with it, he'll find it very hard to say it's no big deal.

I grant there's a risk that he'll just lie and say it didn't bother him that much.

"Our side" isn't exactly subjecting him to anything. He said he was willing to be waterboarded, and Olbermann offered a good bit of money. Hannity isn't broke, so there isn't even the faintest wiff of coercion.
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From:boxofdelights
Date:April 25th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
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1K/second!
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