Just think, when Nancy Pelosi was briefed about enhanced interrogation techniques back in 2002, she could still have rescued Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) from the notorious three-minute inquisition that made him spill his guts in 2003 and has inspired so much hand-wringing regret ever since.
She didn’t, though, because that took place in the Real World. Now, however, we are in full-blown election-season Backward World, where liberals like Pelosi insist that waterboarding three terrorists five years ago makes President Bush as bad as Saddam Hussein, who was known to gouge eyes and use electric drills on those who crossed him.
KSM wasn’t waterboarded for revenge, though, but for compassion. Compassion for passengers on commercial jets and commuter trains, office workers in high-rise buildings, and families in minivans crossing suspension bridges – all plots thwarted in a few minutes, in a CIA prison, with a few buckets of water.
But those few minutes have earned President Bush the title of “Grand Inquisitor” by Reverend Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, a sentiment echoed by many American liberals who also happen to revere Fidel Castro, the benevolent leader of a free and prosperous little island nation… in Backward World, anyway.
Such election-year Backward World rhetoric is serving the Democrats well in fundraising and voter registration. As an added bonus, they got the citizens of Brattleboro, Vermont, so worked up they voted in an indictment against Bush and Cheney for “Crimes Against the Constitution.”
Republicans could have a Backward World if they wanted to. Look at all the busybody rules that Democrats are always trying to foist on Americans. Like regulating thermostats by remote control, smoking bans, and imposing inspections and fines on restaurants that use trans-fats.
Using Backward World logic, I can definitely see a slippery slope between Shortening Police and George Orwell’s Thought Police.
If they get really good at it, Republicans might even work up enough hysteria in some small red-state town to initiate a sanctimonious-sounding indictment against the Democrat bogey monsters behind those ideas.
But in order for it to be a true Backward World, Republicans would have to find some oppressive fascist dictator to fawn over while they accuse Democrats of being the spawn of Satan.
Or better yet, why not stay in the Real World and engage in reasonable debate? Where a case could be made that coercive interrogation techniques should be kept available as a nuclear option, to be used only in the direst of circumstances. And, likewise, that adults shouldn’t be allowed to trap their children in a car filled with secondhand smoke.
Because democracy really works best in the Real World.