Here's some unique writing from the Washington Post, in an article about a man named Kaing Khek Lev, or "Duch," a notorious genocidaire of the Khmer Rouge, who this week took responsibility for his crimes, namely running "the Khmer Rouge's most notorious torture center, Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh," where an "estimated 16,000 men, women and children died." Now, we've read a lot of descriptions of torture in the Washington Post, but some editor allowed reporter Tim Johnston to file an extraordinary rendition:
The prosecution described a chain of death operated by Duch. His victims -- most of whom were either disgraced members of the Khmer Rouge or their families -- were tortured with electric shocks, waterboarding or beating to extract a confession, which would implicate new victims. After confessing, the victims would be killed, most often by a sharp blow to the back of the head.
"There were autopsies carried out on live persons, there was medical experimentation, and people were bled to death: These were all crimes against humanity admitted by Duch," the prosecutors charged in the indictment. Among the four forms of torture he officially condoned, they said, was pouring water up victims' noses.
Wow. You see what Johnston did there, right? He called waterboarding "torture." He specifically called "pouring water up victims' noses"...torture.
It's a break from typical media traditions, obviously. See, when outfits like the WaPo typically talk about waterboarding, it's referred to as "a form of simulated drowning that U.S. officials had previously deemed a crime" or "harsh interrogation tactics" or an "interrogation tactic" or "harsh interrogation practices" or "a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill." But unless you are in possession of whatever gland produces honesty, like Dan Froomkin, you never, never, ever just come right out and say that waterboarding is torture.
I guess it becomes "torture" when it's being done by genocidal Communist madmen, whose political ideology lacks the beautiful exceptionalism that normally transforms an abhorrent and inhumane act into a patriotic gesture. At least I think that's the equation. I'm willing to revisit this position if, say, Ruth Marcus puts on her Inanity Cap and pens a piece about how we should give Duch a break because SURELY, when he was torturing and killing people in Phnom Penh, he was acting "not with criminal intent, but in the belief that they had grants of authority reaching to the highest levels of government."
This is a painting of the waterboarding that was perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge at Security Prison 21, which is now known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This painting hangs there. We also did this to people. One day, maybe paintings of things that we did to people will also hang in museums. They will probably be called the "Freedom Museum Of Harsh Techniques," and will be celebrated as a whited sepulchre of self-delusion.