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A brief history of torture

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF TORTURE

JOHN STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: See, waterboarding is a particularly controversial thing for the United States to do because it was done to us. During World War II, Japanese soldiers subjected Allied soldiers to waterboarding because they were concerned about a WMD attack. Pff. Boop-boop! Talk about paranoid. Of course, we caught those torturing Japanese soldiers and gave them sentences ranging from long prison terms to the loss of their heads—we killed them! But on this past Sunday and Monday, the Obama administration made it very clear that they had no such plans.

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April 19, 2009

ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos

RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He believes that people in good faith were operating with the guidance they were provided. They shouldn’t be prosecuted.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST, THIS WEEK: Well, what about those who devised the policy?

EMANUEL: Yeah. But those who devise policy, he believes that they should not be prosecuted either.

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April 20, 2009

CSPAN

ED HENRY, REPORTER, CNN: The Bush administration lawyers—why are they not being held accountable?

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president is focused on looking forward. That’s why.

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STEWART: He’s looking forward! He’s not looking back. He’s Lot; he’s not Lot’s wife. She looked back, turned into a pillar of salt. Obama is looking forward so that he can turn into caramel. But who knows? I’ve never licked him. Maybe he already is. But, unfortunately, on Tuesday, Obama may have peeked over his shoulder.

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April 21, 2009

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general.

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STEWART: Whatchu talking about, Obama? Alright, he didn’t turn into a pillar of salt, but I taste a pinch of salt, I taste something salty. We’ve apparently gone from "No way will we prosecute" to "I don’t know. I’m going to have to ask my boyfriend." So how is Press Secretary Gibbs going to handle this turnaround?

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April 21, 2009

GIBBS: He says, "As a general deal, I think we should be looking forward and not backward." The president has also said he does not believe that people are above the rule of law. His general posture is to look forward, and at the same time, nobody’s above the law.

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STEWART: His general posture is, you know, you should be healthy, but he understands America’s love of cake. All I’m saying—what does the Geneva Conventions say about the torture of logic? BOOM! So this is our conundrum: Do we prosecute government officials for sanctioning techniques our enemies had once used on us that we deemed brutally immoral? Or acknowledge the breaking of laws, but give our officials a temporary insanity defense for what were probably good-faith attempts to protect a scared-[shitless] population—and, while we’re at it, belatedly apologize to the Japanese guys that we killed? Is there an e-card for that, by the way? Actually, I think there is. It’s a cat and a cowboy hat dancing very slowly. For more on this sudden introduction of moral complexity into our lives, we are joined by senior White House correspondent Samantha Bee in Washington. Sam, thank you for joining us.

SAMANTHA BEE, THE DAILY SHOW: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, John. It’s important not to allow this discussion to become too theoretical. The techniques we used were brutal, excruciating, and sometimes sexual.

STEWART: I’m sorry, Sam. Should we be having this discussion in front of the—? Who is this?

BEE: Oh. It’s Bring Your Kid to Work Day. John, this is my oldest, Track. Wave to Mommy’s boss, Tracky. Hi!

STEWART: Isn’t that the name of Sarah Palin’s son, "Track"?

BEE: Yeah, yeah. Well, he used to be named Jason Jr., but I changed it when I heard Governor Palin’s son’s name. You love it, don’t you, Tracky? You love it.

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