Yoo, Addington Handle ‘Torture Meddlers’
Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/09/addington.jpgDavid Addington (AP)
David Addington and John Yoo, two key architects of the U.S. interrogation policies for suspected Al Queda terrorist detainees in Iraq and at the Guantanamo Bay indoor reception and sports facility, waterboarded their Congressional critics Thursday with testimony that hung them by the thumbs with hoods pulled over their heads.
For example, Addington, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and his former legal counsel, explained that the “beatings” denounced by snoopy outsiders were actually massage therapy by Central Intelligence Agency chiropractors, rushed in to relieve detainees’ charley horses after too much square-dancing.
Then, demonstrating before the committee by using his own wingtip, Yoo, who served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Dept. and is now a law professor at Berkeley Law (formerly Boalt Hall) at UC-Berkeley, showed that the old schoolboy prank of giving a “hotfoot” by administering fire to the toe of a shoe is a joshing way to encourage full and frank conversation between detainee and interviewer. He explained that there is the trivial difference, in that the detainee often forgets to wear shoes.
It is a fact conveniently overlooked by the anti-persuasion lobby, Yoo continued, that with no medical insurance coverage, most of the detainees at the Abu Ghraib hospitality center near Baghdad simply failed to qualify for treatment after developing fractured skulls, broken bones and other complaints in the waiting room. “Our hands are tied,” he said. “Just not as tightly as theirs.”
Such injuries in any case were no worse, Yoo noted, than the bodily impact from a head-on car crash, which thousands of upright American citizens experience every year — “without running to the United Nations or the A.C.L.U. about it.”
Addington revealed that many U.S. interrogation techniques were modeled on those used during the Spanish Inquisition, sanctioned by none other than the king of Spain and also the Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ, the pope. “In short,” Addington pronounced, “God is on our side.”
Picking up the testimony at that point, Yoo observed that any detainee is free, at any point in his “bull sessions” with interrogators, to simply cry, whisper or groan “uncle,” the internationally recognized signal of final agreement in verbal disputes, whereupon the tickling and hotfeet immediately cease.
The soft-on-terrorism left-wingers at the hearing were shocked to learn that pounding on the top of the head with a ballpeen hammer, for example, is allowed under Article 7, Subsection 276, of the 1950 U.N. manual (Nails, Hammering, Disaster-Relief Shelter Construction.)
Detainee treatment is indeed so caring, Addison summarized, that as a special treat they were played the complete score of “The Sound of Music,” one of the great feel-good movies of the late-20th century. Not even their blindfolds detracted from the good cheer — since the soundtrack was piped into every cell at full volume for the next 48 hours.
Bruce McCall, a humorist, is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. He is the author of “All Meat Looks Like South America: The World of Bruce McCall” and “Zany Afternoons.”