The one question an unusually dogged White House press corps on Friday demanded that Vice President Cheney address remains unanswered: If he wasn't talking about waterboarding, what did he mean by a "dunk in the water"?Of course Cheney meant water-boarding. These guys have spent six years telling us it's sunny outside when in fact it's raining buckets. Should we be surprised anymore at the level of brazenness in their bald-faced lies?
Cheney last week agreed with a radio interviewer's assertion that "a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives." That sure sounded like an endorsement of waterboarding, a brutal interrogation technique widely viewed as torture.
On Friday, White House press secretary Tony Snow and then Cheney himself insisted that he wasn't talking about waterboarding at all.
But is there any other plausible explanation? We have yet to hear it.
Here's an exchange between a reporter and Tony Snow:
"Q: What could 'dunk in the water' refer to if not water boarding?Folks, it's absurd. It's like trying to have a rational discussion with a psychopathic liar. It's impossible, so why bother? The more disturbing reality is that people with seemingly such a serious disorder are calling the shots for our country.
"MR. SNOW: I'm just telling you -- I'm telling you the vice president's position. I will let you draw your own conclusions, because you clearly have. He says he wasn't talking --
"Q: I haven't drawn any conclusions. I'm asking for an explanation about what 'dunk in the water' could mean.
"MR. SNOW: How about a dunk in the water?
"Q: So, wait a minute, so 'dunk in the water' means what, we have a pool now at Guantanamo, and they go swimming?
November 7th is our chance to reign in this madness.
Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker agrees:
The "dunk in water" they were talking about is waterboarding. It has been used by the Gestapo, the North Koreans, and the Khmer Rouge. After the Second World War, a Japanese soldier was sentenced to twenty-five years' hard labor for using it on American prisoners. It is torture, and torture is not a no-brainer. It is a no-souler. The no-brainer is the choice on Election Day.