Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jaw-Dropping Ad

The producer and director of "Airplane" and "The Naked Gun", David Zucker, has made a political ad for the GOP that the GOP has declined to use. Matt Drudge tells us that:

In the ad, Zucker, producer of "Scary Movie 4", recreates former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's 2000 visit to North Korea. During the visit, Secretary Albright presented North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il with a basketball autographed by former NBA superstar Michael Jordan.

An actress playing Secretary Albright is shown presenting Kim Jong Il with the Michael Jordan basketball, painting the walls of Osama bin Laden's Afghanistan cave and turning a blind eye to suicide bombers. In one scene her skirt rips as she changes the tire of a Middle Eastern dictator's limousine.

One GOP strategist said "jaws dropped" when the ad was first viewed. "Nobody could believe Zucker thought any political organization could use this ad. It makes a point, but it's way over the top."

You can view the ad here.

Coercive Interrogation

Vasko Kohlmayer at Front Page Mag makes a case for the moral propriety of waterboarding which he believes to be the most benign of the coercive interrogation techniques we have at our disposal. Regular readers of Viewpoint will find little different in his argument from what we have presented here from time to time, but perhaps there is value in reading it in someone else's words.

Here's an excerpt:

.... careful consideration shows that waterboarding is in fact one of the least injurious among interrogation techniques. To see why this is so, it is enough to contrast it with the most common approach which involves a combination of sleep deprivation and cold exposure. Frequently requiring days and even weeks to break the captive's spirit, it carries a real possibility of long-term physical and psychological damage. Worse still, it often fails to achieve the desired effect with the result that the captive is subjected to prolonged hardships, but we still end up without the information we so urgently need.

Waterboarding, on the other hand, is fleeting in duration with the actual discomfort seldom lasting more than a couple of minutes. And since a man can be safely deprived of oxygen for at least twice as long, there is almost no risk of long-term harm. The possibility of injury is further reduced by the fact that the procedure calls for no direct physical contact between the subject and his interrogators. Not even as much as pushing or chest slapping is required at any time, making waterboarding one of the safest and least confrontational among interrogation methods. Involving the lowest risk of long-term harm and the least amount of cumulative discomfort, it is also the most humane. Most importantly, it is the most effective.

While other interrogation procedures employ raw force, intimidation or long-term duress, waterboarding brings the terrorist face to face with that which he himself seeks to inflict upon his victims - the horror of dying. Viewed in this light, waterboarding may well be the most just form of interrogation for this kind of criminal, because it gives him a taste of his own evil. The difference is that his anguish is stopped the moment he expresses a desire for it to be so. This, tragically, is something which his victims would never be granted. While the terrorist turns his prey into mangled corpses, waterboarding gives him a chance to see another day without being so much as scathed by his momentary ordeal. But even as he goes on living, we have in our possession crucial intelligence that will save innocent lives.

Some people reply to this sort of argument by saying that the end of saving lives does not justify the means of causing suffering and fear to another human being. This is nice ivory tower theorizing, but all one needs do to show the hollowness of the objection is to ask whether the person who makes it would think the same thing if he/she knew that among the lives saved by coercing information from a murdering thug would be those of his/her own children.

If the objector to waterboarding replies that even then she would not condone waterboarding then I would ask her to imagine looking into the eyes of her child a moment before a terrorist's bomb's blast incinerates the child and telling him or her that the impending death could have been prevented, but as a matter of principle the means to prevent it could not be used because they would have caused the murderer to suffer discomfort and fear.

Kohlmayer poses the same question in slightly different terms. He writes:

And as far as opponents of waterboarding are concerned, I have these questions to ask: Are a few moments of a terrorist's discomfort more important than the lives of the innocents he seeks to destroy? Are two minutes of Moussaoui's anguish worth more than the three thousand lives lost on 9/11? Does his momentary pain override a lifetime of hurt in the hearts of those left behind?

To answer "yes" to either of these questions, which is the implicit answer one gives if they oppose waterboarding as a means of coercing information, is to manifest colossal moral confusion.

Crazy Christians

Brent Bozell gives us a preview of the upcoming Studio 60 television series created by producer-writer Aaron Sorkin. Like much else coming out of Hollywood, Sorkin's show serves as a platform for anti-Christian animus. In one segment a fictional producer wants to run a show called "Crazy Christians" but is cautioned against it.

Bozell writes:

Sorkin uses his first script to throw sharp knives and rusty razors at the Americans who've lobbied for less filthy television. The show begins with an improbable "standards and practices" censor telling the producer of the fictional "SNL" that he can't run "Crazy Christians" because "what do you want me to say to the 50 million people who are gonna go out of their minds as soon as it airs?" The producer cracks wise: "Well, first of all, you can tell 'em we average 9 million households, so at least 41 million of them are full of crap. Second, you can tell 'em that living where there's free speech means sometimes you're gonna get offended."

Gutsy, eh? Cutting edge, to be sure. We look forward to the episode where the bold, audacious creator of this show exercises his free speech rights to do something really intrepid, like offending Muslims instead of Christians. We're looking forward to it, but we're not holding our breath. That much gutsiness is in short supply in Hollywood.

Bozell goes on to observe that:

What Hollywood likes is having the almighty power to offend - to "challenge" society, as they like to describe it - freely. But only some people are sought out for offending. For every supposedly crazy parent who worries about sex, violence and smutty talk on TV, perhaps there's another supposedly crazy parent who worries about different offenses, such as Twinkie commercials or scenes with cool, beautiful people smoking cigarettes. But those parents don't get mocked by scriptwriters. It is those with religious objections who get singled out.

There's more insight into Sorkin's adolescent attitude toward religion at the link. Bozell wonders in his concluding paragraph whether Aaron Sorkin will ever do a show on those "Crazy Atheists". We can see the puzzled look on Sorkin's face even now. Crazy atheists? What crazy atheists?

Musharraf's Untenable Position

For those who would like to know more about, and understand better, the goings on in Pakistan we recommend Rick Moran's primer at The American Thinker. Moran covers the recent history and highlights the very difficult position Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf finds himself in.

In his conclusion Moran says this:

Beset as he is on all sides, is there anything to be done with Musharraf? Outside of supporting him as much as we can, there really is nothing to be done. Replacing him is out of the question because the chances of someone coming to power who would be much less friendly to the United States and more accommodating to the Taliban are too great. And the likelihood of elections throwing up even more radical extremists is very high.

In this way, Musharraf is almost like an American tar baby. We're stuck with him for as long as he can survive.

How long that will be depends on Musharraf's knack for avoiding the assassin's blade and his complex political maneuverings. Because like it or not, Musharraf is still the best ally we have in the War on Terror. And he will remain so as long as he can continue to juggle the clashing interests and competing factions that threaten to bring him down at any time.

Read the whole column. It's enlightening.