Torture Tots: Condoleezza Rice Teaches Torture’s Necessity To Fourth Graders

225px-condoleezza_rice_croppedIn one of the most perverse moments yet in the torture debate, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took time to explain the need for torture to a fourth grader who was a bit curious why his country tortured people. The question of Misha was considerably more reassuring than Rice’s answers.

Rice was given a lecture at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue when she ran into Misha Lerner who asked her to explain why the Bush administration tortured people. Rice responded:

“Let me just say that President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything he could to protect the country. After September 11, we wanted to protect the country. But he was also very clear that we would do nothing, nothing, that was against the law or against our obligations internationally. So the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country. . . .I hope you understand that it was a very difficult time. We were all so terrified of another attack on the country. September 11 was the worst day of my life in government, watching 3,000 Americans die. . . . Even under those most difficult circumstances, the president was not prepared to do something illegal, and I hope people understand that we were trying to protect the country.”

This is close to the Nixonian response that Rice gave Stanford students last week..

I find it interesting that Rice is falling back on the exceptional circumstances of the time — a defense expressly rejected under the Convention Against Torture. Article 2 states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

There is also the claim for a type of constitutional Mulligan for officials who are terrified after 911. It is pretty disconcerting to hear about officials living in terror of a group of terrorists. I live in Washington and the plane hit the Pentagon literally in my rear view mirror as I passed the Pentagon. A friend died on that flight. Yet, I was not “terrified” to Al Qaeda. I was angry and vengeful, but I would never have approved torture. We expect adults (let alone high-ranking officials) to act soberly and lawfully and humanely. Rice and the rest make it sound like they participated in a form of organized panic — where their little transgressions can be excused.

According to Misha’s mother, the boy originally wanted to ask “If you would work for Obama’s administration, would you push for torture?” His parents made him change the question. With all due respect to the parents (who clearly have raised a bright child), I liked Misha’s original question a bit more.

The failure of the Obama administration to select a special prosecutor is why officials like Rice can hold these impromptu torture for tots classes. Rice should be meeting with defense counsel, not holding forth on why torture is more excusable when your leaders are “terrified.” By the way, Al Qaeda must be loving the moment: what greater success is there for a terrorist than to know that you terrified the President of the United States and his National Security Adviser.

For the full story, click here and here.

107 thoughts on “Torture Tots: Condoleezza Rice Teaches Torture’s Necessity To Fourth Graders”

  1. Mike Spindell, in early May, suggested the Justice Department was arguing in court for immunity for mistreatment of detainees because it was an “ongoing justice department case that required present action.” Last month, in another Circuit Court, the Justice Department made the same argument. How long must we wait for your favorite administration to “change the direction of [the] bureaucracy”? Or how long will it take for you to open your eyes?

  2. Lest you think Condi is merely the torture tutor to timorous tots, here’s a classic lead from an article in The Calgary Sun by Bill Kaufman:

    ” At first glance, the press release appeared as if plagiarized from The Onion, that publication of satirical record.

    “Condoleezza Rice launches School of Public Policy,” trumpeted the University of Calgary.

    Should we expect Bernie Madoff christening a school of business ethics? Still fresh from passing on the ashes of her administration’s foreign policy, Rice made the now traditional pilgrimage to Calgary so well trod by her disgraced GOP brethren.”

    Could any of you provide me a reference for my application??

  3. Do I ever have a way with words.

    Subject: FW: Mathematical Logic

    How to get ahead in life.


    Subject: Fw: Mathematical Logic

    This is a strictly mathematical viewpoint…it goes like this:

    What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

    Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    is represented as:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
    22 23 24 25 26.


    H-A -R -D-W-O -R -K
    8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


    K -N -O -W-L -E-D-G-E
    = 96%

    But ,

    A-T -T -I -T -U -D-E
    1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


    B -U -L -L -S -H-I -T
    2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

    AND, look how far ass kissing
    will take you..

    A-S -S -K -I -S-S -I -N-G
    = 118%

    So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top.


  4. Gyges,

    Stout float, eh?

    After a bit of consideration, I can see that working with vanilla possibly chocolate. I was looking for a new way to combine vices in an attempt to spice up my life. Doctor’s orders. I was considering parachutes and prostitutes but the insurance liability and shortage of sky-diving hookers made this impractical. Thank you for an alternative that is both affordable and within easy reach.

  5. They were/are more interesting than the the fundi/conservative alternative, no?

    Be well Mike. The bad news with a thorough GI exam is that it’s an ugly and unpleasant bit of work. The good news is they put you to sleep. Also, according to my Dr. the problem is most often and (commonly in the population) a deterioration of the esophageal and stomach lining. You can take a pill daily and watch your diet to control it and if you take the pills here’s w i d e latitude in the diet. Get the tests done, you’ll thank yourself.

    The thujone attraction is definitely there. I have long believed that the aspect of the war on drugs that classifies the hypnotics and hallucinogens with the addictive has little to do with the stated health reasons or law enforcement concerns publicly stated. Some drugs have the ability to change your mind or facilitate the ability of people to change their world view IMO. Governments’ don’t want that because a lot of those changed viewpoints have little respect for or investment in what a government considers the appropriate business as usual of the citizenry.

    Some drugs are downright subversive. And fun. You just can’t have people getting used to a high fun quotient. Or an elevated quotient of fun. They get all uppity about BS distractions and rules being imposed. They just stop worrying about coloring within the lines.

    They realize that if curtains are expected in a room they may as well make a curtain of chandelier prisms so their living room (about all of the world anyone actually has any control over) is filled with rainbows. They understand that if the volume knob wasn’t meant to be put at the 11 o-clock position there wouldn’t be an 11 o-clock position. They put ice cream in good booze because really, how could that go wrong? They recognize that if a fatty bird tastes good because of the fat the best way to cook it is to cook it in more fat. They understand that life is short and not a dress rehearsal so when some fool says ‘grab your weapon we’re invading *fill in the blank*’ for no good reason they say ‘hell no, we won’t go.’
    Subversive b******s. 😉

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