On the politics of Torture


by Sid (Faisal)
30th April, 2008 at 11:04 pm    

Karl Rove has written an homage to John McCain in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal. As far as the election goes, Rove and the GOP frontrunner can now be said to be in a sweet and tender embrace.

But as the First Post has it:

This is despite the fact that Rove was reportedly one of the team behind a vicious smear campaign to discredit McCain before the South Carolina primaries eight years ago. There, someone involved with the Bush campaign instigated a series of telephone calls in which Republican voters were asked whether they would be more or less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he’d “fathered an illegitimate black child”.

The underhand tactic was intended to cast doubt on the parentage of McCain’s youngest daughter, Bridget, who in fact had been adopted from a Bangladeshi orphanage by McCain’s liquor heiress second wife Cindy. Amid the ensuing rumours, McCain lost the state and Bush ultimately pipped Al Gore for the presidency. When he later spoke about the people behind the calls, McCain said: “I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those.”

Or a special place in his future campaign team, perhaps?

Nowadays of course, Rove is in the business of praising his old nemesis to the skies. He recalls something that was done to McCain in Vietnam:

Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can’t raise his arms over his head. One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice.

Andrew Sullivan (he who maintains The Daily Dish, arguably the best blog in the world) has this to say:

This is what is called a “stress position.” It was authorized, monitored and practised as a torture technique by this president, whose chief adviser at the time was Karl Rove. Rove even planned to run the 2006 Congressional campaign on the message of being tough enough on prisoners in American custody.

In the same op-ed, Rove refers warmly to McCain’s Bangladeshi adopted daughter – the same daughter his surrogates demonized in the 2000 campaign, by spreading rumors that McCain had a black illegitimate daughter.

Every now and again, one is shocked by the Big Lies and chutzpah that come out of a man as utterly indifferent to the truth as Rove. And then one realizes: this is what these people do for a living. They say anything to retain and wield power.

And you thought politics in the UK was dirty.


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  1. Sunny — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:45 pm  

    And you thought politics in the UK was dirty.

    Ha ha! Good point at the end. Rove may be a good strategist. But he’s almost like the devil’s incarnate isn’t he? Nothing despicable is beyond him.

  2. Sid — on 30th April, 2008 at 11:51 pm  

    Ethically speaking, he’s a walking pus hole. There is no doubt in my mind that he would sell his mother to stay in power. McCain has swallowed his pride and his esteem to have him on his team. They’re very lucky to have each other. :D

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