Only the worst kind of wingnut could conclude that America is “awesome” in spite of — or because of — “forced anal feeding and re-hydration” of detainees. But that’s what we heard this week.
Well, now we know. America did a whole lot more than “torture some folks.” The Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the CIA’s torture program this week. The 525-page report is a stomach-turning read, but those with enough courage to read about some — but probably not all — that was done in our names during the “war on terror” can find it here.
Otherwise, here are the basics you need to know.
The most gruesome details of the report include:
- “Rectal Feeding” and “Rectal Re-hydration”: It’s exactly what it sounds like, folks. The archaic practice was once used on patients in desperate need of nutrition, but who couldn’t feed themselves. It has zero nutritional value. Thus, medical officials in the torture program deemed it “a means of behavior control.“ One inmate was rectally inserted with ”a pureed cocktail of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins." The rectal exams were administered with such “excessive force,” that one detainee experienced chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and a “symptomatic rectal prolapse.”
- “Well Worn” Waterboards: The CIA previously swore it only waterboarded three guys, ever. The Senate report, however, describes a photograph of a “well worn” waterboard, surrounded by buckets of water, at a site where the CIA said nobody was ever waterboarded. The CIA still hasn’t explained that one. Maybe that’s because they/we waterboarded way more then three guys.
- “Near Drowning”: During one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah became “completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open full mouth.” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s 183 waterboardings escalated into a “series of near drownings.”
- Standing on Broken Legs: Some detainees who had broken feet or legs were forced to stand in stress-inducing positions, even though the CIA pledge not to subject wounded detainees to positions that might worsen their injuries.
Oh, and none of it produced any useful intelligence. Yes, we saw "Zero Dark Thirty." No, torture did not help us find and kill Osama Bin Laden, or stop any terrorist attacks.
So, any red-blooded American would be shocked, horrified, and deeply ashamed of what the Senate report details. Right? Well, not the wingnut brigade.
- Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called the release of the report a “mistake,” and dismissed the report as "“an ideologically motivated and distorted recounting of historical events.”
- Conservative media launched into a rapturous celebration of torture.
- Fox News host Bill O’Reilly actually said torture is a “morally acceptable” thing to do.
- Fox News analyst Ralph Peters argued that “rectal feeding” and other torture tactics didn’t undermine the values of “real Americans,” and said the Senate report provides “aid and comfort to the enemy.”
- Radio host, deadbeat dad, and former Republican Representative Joe Walsh suggested that anyone who chained naked prisoners to the floor and subjected them to “rectal feeding” is an “American hero.”
- Pat Robertson told “700 Club” viewers they “shouldn’t be trouble” because “rough tactics” were necessary to stop terrorist attacks.
- Rep. Peter King (R, New York) criticized torture opponents for having a “‘hate America first’ attitude that is self-loathing, self-hatred,” and said the report was released to distract from a congressional hearing on Obamacare.
- King also called the CIA’s torture techniques “very mild.” So, it sounds more like King didn’t even read the report.
- Rush Limbaugh suggested that President Obama, not torture, is “a stain on our nation’s honor,” and claimed that the Senate report was released “by design” to “dwarf” economist Ron Gruber’s Obamacare testimony.
- The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer said the Senate report prove that Democrats are “like juvenile delinquents that decide we’re going to trash this place on the way out the door.”
- Fischer’s AFA college, Sandy Rios called the publication of the Senate report an “evil” act that will “likely cause the deaths of Americans.”
- In an interview on Glenn Beck’s program, the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin said, “Torture is what we’ve done by having the IRS go after conservative groups.”
- On “Morning Joe,” Republican operative Nicole Wallace said it’s “asinine” to think torture made America “less great.”
The worst right-wing response to the Senate report was when Fox News host Andrea Tantaros all but broke out the pompoms and cheered, “We are awesome.”
Didja catch that? Tantaros wants it both ways. She claims that “we are awesome” because “We’ve closed the book” on torture, and “we’ve stopped doing it.” Yet she also seems to say torture was the right thing to do.
The Bush administration did what the American public wanted, and that was do whatever it takes to keep us safe. These terror tactics have been stopped because as a country, we decided we are better than this.
Torture was the right thing to do when America did it. Stopping torture was the right thing to do when America stopped doing it. But the Senate and the media are wrong to tell us exactly what we did. That’s the wingnuts’ tortured response to the Senate torture report.
Only one Republican stood up against torture, and it was John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Finally, one of our favorite wingnuts is leaving Congress. But before we say goodbye to Rep. Michele Bachmann, let’s take a walk down Memory Lane.
Here’s the rest of the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week:
- Tea party activist gathered outside the White House to protest the presidents executive actions on immigration shouted things like “Hang the Kenyan traitor.” “Plenty of trees in the front yard,” another said. “We’ve got rope,” said another.
- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) declared, “the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses is the very foundation of the law that has given happiness and the rise of the greatest prosperity that any nation has known before.” She gave us one last gem.
- At the White House holiday party, Bachmann also told President Obama that he must bomb nuclear facilities in Iran, “because if you don’t, Iran will have a nuclear weapon on your watch and the course of world history will change.”
- Texas governor Rick Perry said running for president “is not an IQ test,” so stop asking if he’s smart enough for the job.
- Perry also assured us that economic inequality isn’t a problem, because “Biblically, the poor are always going to be with us in some form or fashion.”
- Fox News anchor Brit Hume complained that President Obama “Never talks about the behaviors of young African-American men that may cause police to be afraid of them.”
- Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera suggested Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James should wear a shirt on the basketball court that says “Be a better father,” instead of “I can’t breathe.”
- Sean Hannity told Tavis Smiley “You need to be educated,” about the role of race in recent police killings.
- Pat Buchanan told Newsmax host J.D. Hayworth that making police wear body camera’s is “a libel and a slander on America” and the police.
- Glenn Beck declared, “We are a nation that will destroy themselves” by mocking God, because an atheist gave the invocation at a local commission meeting in Florida.
- Beck also said that a “Family Guy” episode about Jesus Christ trying to lose his virginity was “worse” than crucifixion.
- On AFA’s “Today’s Issues,” Pastor Robert Jeffress said that joke about Jesus on NPR proves “this world system is under Satan’s control.”
- Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce said that Rolling Stone had bungled the University of Virginia rape story because of liberals’ “romanticizing of victimhood.”
- Family Research Council spokesmen Peter Sprigg and former NFL player Craig James, said on the “Washington Watch” radio program that the religious right may fight to amend the constitution to eliminate the “myth” of transgender people.
- The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is fine with schools that teaching LGBT history, “on the condition that you start with Sodom and Gomorrah.”
- Anti-gay pastor Jim Garlow said marriage equality supporters “ought to have to live in homes in which the plumbers who built them, or the electricians who built them, didn’t understand the difference between the male and female end of piping or plumbing or of electrical as well, and see how that works for them.”
- The Republican-led Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow emergency medical technicians to deny services to LGBT people, under the guise of “religious freedom.”
- Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) called Native Americans “wards of the federal government,” during a round table talk with the White Mountain Apache Tribe.