Or they could have posted large-format, close-up, very detailed photographs of Dick Cheney's butt. Or they could have forced them to have their hair done in that same rear tidal wave that Condoleezza Rice sported lo those many years that she carried out little George's dirty work. They could have put them in extremely close quarters with Rush Limbaugh while he was coming off the pills and sweating profusely. They could have locked them up in the same bathroom with Larry Craig and some foot lube. They could have had Ann Coulter jump out from behind a wall and make crazy faces at them and break out into a fan dance wearing nothing but adult diapers and big fuzzy house shoes and talking nonstop while tweeting people about it. (Let's keep that one in mind for the future, just in case all hell breaks loose again.) They could have tortured people in a lot of ways other than what they did. But they didn't. It would be laughable if it weren't so sad that there is even the slightest bit of debate about whether or not it was legal, moral, worthwhile, productive — whatever — for the United States to torture other human beings. To physically harm them — slowly, repeatedly, and viciously. I'm glad President Obama released the memorandums that the Bush administration created to condone this policy, but I hope the rest of them remain secret, because I, for one, have heard all I need and want to hear, chicken as that may seem. They had me at Abu Ghraib. That was plenty. The most frightening thing about that was the "interogators" obviously enjoyed doing what they were doing to those people, some of whom were just taxi drivers and shop owners who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Remember the photo of that repugnant U.S. soldier who had a huge smile on her face while holding a bloody, naked man on a leash? You think she prevented another "terrorist attack"?
I love it that those in the hot seat are now saying this is all about "bad legal advice" and nothing more. I would say that waterboarding someone more than 250 times in one month goes just a tad beyond "bad advice." And does anyone really think we're going to swallow the idea that George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld actually solicited legal advice on whether or not to torture with the intent of even paying attention to it, no matter what the advice was? From the second Bush put that goat book down and got all cross-eyed because he was in way over his head, he and his death squad did exactly as they pleased, without exception, at every turn in the game.
Yeah, I know the attacks on 9/11 were horrible and unprecedented. And yeah, some Americans, like journalist Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by his captors, met with a horrific fate. But that's the precise point: Why did we have to stoop to that same level of inhumanity?
Should the lawyers who gave the "advice" that it was okay to torture other human beings be prosecuted? I don't know. I wouldn't even bet a nickel that they weren't told by the higher-ups what opinion to write. Hopefully, they will be called to testify in some fashion and actually tell the truth. My bigger hope would be that Cheney would have to do the same, but I have no faith that he would do that, even under oath. As for George W. Bush, I think he screwed up badly enough to go down in history as the worst president the country has ever had, and if he someday realizes that and lives with it for the rest of his life, that may be enough. Plus, it would save us from having to listen to him talk again.
I doubt Barack Obama will go to the lengths of prosecuting any of these people, but hopefully they have enough of a conscience to be squirming as more information about what they did comes out. A public "Shaming Day" might do the trick. But probably not. If they aren't ashamed already, it may be a lost cause.