As predicted, Chris Matthews could hardly contain himself reacting to former Vice President Dick Cheney, (or Chee-neey, as Matthew peculiarly insists on over-emphasizing with the relish pretentious liberals used to affect when saying â€œNee-ah-rrrah-wahâ€ during arguments over the Contras and the Sandinistas).
Cheneyâ€™s blockbuster interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace had all the usual suspects screaming in outrage Monday, with Matthewsâ€™ reaction particularly self-revealing, thanks to former California Congressman Duncan Hunter.
There was plenty of the usual blather about how we should be above this, misapplications of the Geneva Conventions, whether it works, and the like (issues we will cover in the future).Â Matthews and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz were particularly outraged that the interrogators had talked meanly to the terrorists, using sound effects and threats to family members whom the U.S. isnâ€™t even holding.
But Duncan Hunter finally hit Matthews with something Iâ€™ve been shouting at the screen for months.
HUNTER:Â Yes, the Genevaâ€”the Geneva Convention, first, if you look at theâ€”the Geneva Convention was analyzed by the lawyers in place, and they came to the conclusion, especially about water-boarding, because thatâ€˜s the primary thing, that, since we do it to our own soldiers, by the hundreds, incidentally, and it doesnâ€˜t hurt them, and theyâ€”and it makes them tougher, and it doesnâ€˜t hurt anybodyâ€”Khalid Shaikh Mohammed gained weight after he was water-boardedâ€”we decided that, since we do that to our own soldiers in training…
HUNTER:Â … weâ€˜re not going to consider that torture.
Nowâ€”now, the question for liberals is, if you considerâ€”consider that torture…
MATTHEWS:Â You know why we did that, though.Â I want to go on to the congresswoman.
HUNTER:Â But wait just a second.
MATTHEWS:Â OK.Â Well, look, you know why we did…
HUNTER:Â If you consider that torture…
MATTHEWS:Â Well, youâ€˜re not putting the… Youâ€˜re not being honest here, Congressman.
HUNTER:Â … then are we torturing our own soldiers?
MATTHEWS:Â We did that because the Chicomsâ€”because the Chinese communists were doing it in Korea, so we did it to prepare our guys, G.I.s, in case they got picked up.Â You didnâ€˜t give the context.
HUNTER:Â So, whatâ€˜s wrong with that?Â So, whatâ€˜s wrong with that?
MATTHEWS:Â Well, you never explained why weâ€˜re doing it.Â Because we believed the enemy was torturing out prisoners.
MATTHEWS:Â And we wanted to prepare them to be tortured.Â We didnâ€˜t do it as part of their training.Â We said, this is what happens if youâ€˜re…
HUNTER:Â Korea has been over for aâ€”well, youâ€˜re wrong about that, Chris.
Mr.â€”Senator Levin was veryâ€”Iâ€˜m sure, very shocked when he saw that we do it with our own folks.Â But the point is, if we do it, are we torturing American soldiers?Â You have to answer yes if you consider water-boarding to be torture.
Are we torturing our own soldiers?Â Answer the question.
MATTHEWS:Â Weâ€˜re preparing them to face torture.
HUNTER:Â No, we water-board them.Â We donâ€˜t prepare them for water-boarding. We water-board them.Â Are we torturing our own soldiers?
MATTHEWS:Â Look, youâ€˜re getting into a game here.Â Do you think it’s within the bounds of the Geneva Convention…
HUNTER:Â Well, that’s not a game.Â That’s aâ€”thatâ€˜s a reasonable question.
Later, Hunter again tried to get out of Matthews and Wasserman-Shultz why they were outraged at waterboarding KSM, but not Special Forces and Air Force personnel.
HUNTER:Â So, theâ€”soâ€”OK.Â So, Debbie, so, Debbie, so theâ€”so theâ€”so the American SEALs torture…
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:Â We should notâ€”we should not be spiraling ever downward.
HUNTER:Â So, the American SEALs torture themselves, the Air Force tortures itself, according to your definition that water-boarding is torture.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:Â Thatâ€˜s not torture.Â That’s preparing… Give me a break.
HUNTER:Â And there’s no problem with Israel doing very enhanced methods of interrogation.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:Â Thatâ€˜s preparing our troops.
MATTHEWS:Â OK.Â Congressman…
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:Â That’s preparing our troops.
MATTHEWS:Â … even the most normal intelligence could help you with this.Â I don’t know why youâ€˜re not applying it, because you have it.
MATTHEWS:Â Obviously, the service people know they’re in training.Â They’re not going to be killed.
MATTHEWS:Â That captured person who is one of our enemy has no idea what we’re doing…
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ:Â They’re getting ready for what they might be subjected to in other countries.
MATTHEWS:Â … when we submit him to water torture.
HUNTER:Â So, we scaredâ€”so, Chrisâ€”Chris, use your common sense.
MATTHEWS:Â So, donâ€˜t tell me itâ€˜s the same thing.
HUNTER:Â We scared Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.Â We scared him, but we didn’t hurt him. We scared him.Â And he gave up threeâ€”three potential terrorist plots, and you don’t think it’s worth it.
Iâ€™ve talked to several Â former Air Force or Special Forces friends who have undergone waterboardingâ€”or worse– as part of their training.Â All agree and repeat Hunterâ€™s â€œBaloneyâ€ retort.
First, in what is called SERE training, waterboarding is not carried outÂ in a clinical setting.Â Â It is generally in the field, with a simulated escape and capture.Â The â€œprisonersâ€ are knocked around and treated roughly in a way that would have Matthews and Wasserman-Shultz screaming for a trial at the Hague.
Second, as every former participant has told me, it doesnâ€™t matter what oneâ€™s mind thinks it knows in that situation, oneâ€™s body thinks it is drowning, and it is momentarily terrifying.
Third, waterboarding soldiers and airmen is not conducted to train them to resist such methods indefinitelyâ€”or In Matthewsâ€™ ridiculously vague assertion â€œprepareâ€ themâ€”for what?.
They are waterboarded, among other things, Â to show them that even in simulated circumstances, resistance is futile.Â That anyone can be broken eventually.Â That is why tactics, codes, and the like are changed when someone who knows them is captured.Â A well-trained captured soldier/airman/operatorâ€™s job is to resist in the short term, then give out tactical information as slowly as they can stand to do so, given the circumstances, so that hopefully by the time the enemy extracts it, it is useless.Â Futhermore, a captured American needs to stay psychologically healthy for the rest of Â his captivity after he is made to talk.Â Being waterboarded in SERE training, prepares for that, too, by removing the guilt associated by having broken to at least some extent.
Unanimouslyâ€”and enthusiastically, for that matterâ€”every one of these men endorses the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.Â The only reservation Iâ€™ve heard from these men is the question of why only 3 captured terrorists have been waterboarded so far.
Leftists’ hysteria on this issueÂ shows their unseriousness about protecting American lives.Â In the last year, the only â€œterroristâ€ threat Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann have gotten excited about is this guy: