Friday, April 24, 2009


In case you have missed the news all a-twitter around the blogosphere, Sean Hannity, conservative windbag (in my opinion) and advocate of torture, has volunteered to be waterboarded - for charity. Such an offer came about in this way...

Charles Grodin, political commentator and actor (The Great Muppet Caper), appeared on Hannity's Fox News show on Wednesday. After some teasing and banter, Grodin brought up the subject of torture, which Hannity supports.

Grodin: You're for torture.
Hannity: I am for enhanced interrogation.
Grodin: You don't believe it's torture. Have you ever been waterboarded?
Hannity: No, but Ollie North has.
Grodin: Would you consent to be waterboarded? We can waterboard you?
Hannity: Sure.
Grodin: Are you busy on Sunday?
Hannity: I'll do it for charity. I'll let you do it. I'll do it for the troops' families.

This exchange is disturbing to me on so many levels. I believe torture is wrong. I believe it's wrong to use torture as a means of protecting "national security" (I don't think it's effective and I feel it's a violation of basic human rights). And I believe torture is wrong if it's done for charity to raise money for a good cause. I feel that even suggesting willingly submitting oneself to waterboarding somehow reduces torture, the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering to punish or intimidate or coerce. To waterboard Sean Hannity for charity diminishes the severity this act of torture to the level of harmless prank, to reality television, and you know, this is not what torture is.

I am so disappointed with my fellow liberals, most of whom have advocated AGAINST torture, who seem to have jumped on the waterboarding Hannity bandwagon. "Woohoo! let's waterboard Hannity!! It's about time!!" And why do they want to waterboard Hannity? Because they don't agree with his politics? Because he's a jackass? The prisoners in Guantanamo have political opinions which differ from those of their torturers. And many of them are beyond the level of jackass and are downright nasty people. Why do we think "torturing" Hannity would be okay? Doesn't this undermine our very opposition to torture? I believe that we are finally getting close to having our nation acknowledge the criminality and evil of our recent acts, and I believe allowing Hannity to go through with this sanctions this type of behavior and feeds right into the line that it "really isn't torture anyway."

For a much more coherent discussion on this topic, check out:

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