Rudy Giuliani: If it was good enough for Pol Pot, it MIGHT be good enough for me!

Rudy Giuliani “isn’t sure” if waterboarding – a simulated drowning technique allegedly used by the United States armed forces in the war on terror – is torture. Waterboarding induces the feeling of imminent death – see also, mock execution – which is illegal under international law. Used during the Spanish Inquisition and in the Cambodian genocide, waterboarding was considered a war crime in WWII.

Giuliani alleges that the “liberal media” portrays the technique inaccurately, and says the line between what is torture and what isn’t is “very delicate and very difficult”. However, even a key player in his own party, Senator John McCain (who served in Vietnam and survived torture himself) sharply rebuked Giuliani’s statements:

“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak… people who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned. We are a better nation than that.”

Bottom line? Giuliani thinks torture is ok… sometimes. For instance, it’s ok when it is part of “aggressive questioning of Islamic terrorists”. Just Islamic terrorists, Rudy? I suppose I should appreciate that he can be sure about something.

To further open mouth and insert foot, he equated long hours on the campaign trail to sleep deprivation – another form of torture used in interrogation processes and condemned by the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of Israel. He must have confused his penchant for luxury, waterfront hotels – which he reaches via private jet – with Guantanamo Bay.

With even experienced military men like John McCain not just condemning, but also questioning the efficacy of “methods” like waterboarding, Giuliani’s credibility takes a shot. But to put any sort of fuzzy conditions on torture? Reprehensible. I can hear Giuliani squirm as I say that he needs to take a page from Nancy Pelosi’s book. In her explicit condemnation of the Armenian genocide, she said:

“Some of what harms our troops relates to values – Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, torture. Our troops are well-served when we declare who we are as a country, and we declare it to the rest of the world.”

Rudy, torture is torture. And if you can’t stomach Pelosi’s principles, didn’t you once say that relying on God’s guidance is at the core of who you are? Surely spiritual reflection would guide one to the realization that there is never any condition which makes torture excusable.

3 thoughts on “Rudy Giuliani: If it was good enough for Pol Pot, it MIGHT be good enough for me!

  1. As an initial supporter of Rudy Giuliani, I must say his position on torture has given me pause. I wrestle with the Benjamin Franklin quote: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” That could be applied to how we treat those who threaten our liberty. Do we have the right to expect human rights at the expense of another’s? It does seem contradictory to utilize water boarding or other torture techniques to preserve democracy.
    I see John McCain and Giuliani as two side of the same coin; McCain coming from the receiving end of malicious and heinous acts at the hands of the enemy and Giuliani being on the receiving end of ground zero terrorism. Both are attempting to put a stop to in the most effective and efficient way possible without impact on their individual conscious.
    As a soldier I am willing to kill in the name of freedom and my constitution, but I can’t help but wonder how much value the document has if it fails to recognize human rights…even those of the enemy. I’ll let you know if I ever arrive at a conclusion to this quandary.

  2. Recently, I raised some fundamental question’s I’ve been pondering (since I originally read your blog last year) on this issue in an e-mail to a friend & former co-worker. The following was her response:
    “I find it interesting that something that should be a little more clear cut, isn’t. With our propensity towards righteous anger comes our ability to excuse behavior. Knowing my own personal limitations and feelings regarding this issue, I don’t know if it will ever truly be clear to all those that are required to uphold and abide by either the Constitution or Geneva Convention. Primarily because all to often we regard the “needs of the many instead of the few” (i.e. could “enhanced interrogation” prevent another 911?). The problem with that is that we never know if we truly are protecting / addressing the “needs of the many” or just exploiting / abusing that of “the few”. The poor Joe may not know anything. With all that being said, that’s the long way around to saying that although I don’t personally support torture, I can certainly understand (righteous anger for 911) how they would want to justify it. In fact, part of me wants to justify it, even when the core of me knows and feels it’s wrong. That’s because I’m human and it’s our obligation as such to not only question our government’s motives, but our own.” – Isabel Bloomer

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