"This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's very vague. What does that mean, 'outrages upon human dignity'? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation." - George W. Bush, White House Press Conference Sept. 15 2006
"We will restore honor and dignity to the White House." George W. Bush, every flippin' day in 2000
VERY OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE, September 27, 2006
Following on last week's tortuous debate over what is and what is not "torture," "cruelty," and "outrages upon human dignity," the White House today announces that its Grand Ballroom will be turned into an interactive "Celebration of Human Dignity." Visitors and enemy combatants will be able to see with their own eyes that the new, improved US compromise torture policy is right in lockstep with the country's Republican values.
Visitors will first be reminded of the gloomy pre-compromise days, when the CIA and private contractors were allowed to almost drown suspects. As soon as you enter "Waterboard World," you'll be strapped to a board, dunked under water until you almost drown, and revived by a polite lifeguard. Before being dried off with a souvenir "I survived The Board" towel, you will see a bronze plaque with President-in-waiting John McCain's heroic words, "There will be no such thing as waterboarding."
Then you'll meet your guide for the Celebration of Human Dignity: Ouchy, the Severe Pain Panda(TM). Take Ouchy's furry paw and celebrate human dignity on all the exhibits, with pictures available for purchase at the end.
Exhibit 1: Shower Time
Ouchy will tell you that the compromise torture bill outlaws a few specific acts that result in severe physical pain, but the US government hasn't gone all girly and moral. He will push you into a shower stall and drench you with buckets of human waste, which you may or may not be forced to rub on yourself. Ouchy says, "Stinky and icky, but no severe pain! Let's take a dignified walk to the next exhibit!"
Exhibit 2: Kiddy Korner
Wipe the Bush Administration's dignity from your eyes and watch a video. You'll sit in comfy chairs, heavily Scotchgarded for obvious reasons, while we celebrate human dignity with your children. Watch them wince and hear them shriek as people on your government's payroll rape them -- but reassure them throughout that they will not lose a major organ. "This might make you want to tear out your own heart with a spoon," says Ouchy, "but you'll notice there is no severe physical pain. Dignity!" And on to the next exhibit.
Exhibit 3: John McCain's Old Home Week
The dignity of the proceedings should make you hold your head high and smile, which is handy because we'll be knocking out all your teeth. Ouchy, in a bit of comic relief, says "Ouchy!" as each tooth is pounded out of its roots, then he elbows you in the ribs and says, "Hey, it's better than goin' to the dentist!" Ouchy then explains that your pain is probably pretty bad, but not up to the threshold of the new US law. Then he breaks your arm.
Exhibit 4: Baby it's Cold Inside
Strip off your stinky, bloody dignity suit and chill out with Ouchy in the just-above-freezing fridge cell. He says, "Cold enough for ya?" as he douses you with ice water. "Brr!" he explains, "but you don't feel like you're dying or anything, do you? It's all legal, therefore it's all moral!"
Exhibit 5: Stand Tall
...for a couple days, blindfolded, on a box, or we'll electrocute you. You'll notice a great deal of pain and frustration, but all your organs will be basically intact, spilling waste onto your extremely (but not technically "severely") painful feet. Ouchy will join you after 48 hours or so for the light jog to the final exhibit.
Exhibit 6: We Beat You to Death with a Flashlight
Technically there is bound to come a moment toward the end of this exhibit where you'll feel severe pain. You'll probably be tempted to scream out for help. But thanks to those highly moral compromisers, you will have zero chance of being heard, zero appeal if you do survive, your family will have zero chance of justice, human rights groups will be prohibited from invoking the Geneva Convention in any trial, and any case will be dismissed because everything that happened to you will be automatically legal if the president-king says it is. Dignity!
The display will be in place for the next two years. At least.
VERY IMPORTANT CORRECTION: An earlier version of this press release linked to this video from an apparently al Qaeda-affiliated organization called "The Young Turkish." It should have linked to Clarence Thomas's enthusiastic support of the new torture bill, delivered in his position's traditional black robe and hood and scythe and grin. (no corrected link available)