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Phil Rizzo: Torture — made in the good ol’ USA

Full Speed to Port!

Posted: May 26, 2009 8:26 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I have some favorite icons that I tie up with America and Americans.

One is Grant Wood’s “A Man, a Woman and a Pitchfork” painting; another is of the Lincoln Memorial; another is Martin Luther King delivering his landmark “I have a dream ...” address; the American soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima; my father in his World War I Army uniform; an old sepia print of Susan B. Anthony.

These images make me feel good. They make me glad to be an American.

Then there’s the other side of our collective American personality — the part that I don’t like about us.

I think about Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and the words he uttered: “I will fight no more forever.” I think of the Trail of Tears left by the 17,000 Cherokee forced from their homes and relocated. Four thousand of them died on the road.

I think of the corpses left at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think of the Japanese-Americans on the West Coast who were relocated and put in internment camps for no logical reason during WWII except for a fit of paranoia.

And in our time, the likes of Dick Cheney made us aware of torture, not by some banana republic, not by an evil dictatorship, not by a primitive culture but, yes, by our own good old USA, the most religiously pious nation in the world.
While we we’re losing jobs all over America, at least our home-grown torture industry was resilient to recession.

So with my many years of observing the intrinsic fear that spurs Americans to evil, I think we might prepare ourselves to see an eventual cabinet post created called Secretary of Torture.

Securing the most talented leaders for this post will not be easy, but American ingenuity will surely call forth the right person.

Recruitment should start from our religious leaders, inasmuch as religionist groups favor torture over weaker-kneed non churchgoers.
West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy will need to add torture curriculum to prepare our up-and-coming torture leaders.

You may be proud of your kid getting into Annapolis, but he or she will come home changed for life once a taste for waterboarding and live burial has been indoctrinated inside Junior’s pliable mind.

How can you say “no” to your kid who’s been government-trained and sanctioned for wall-slamming, hanging folks upside down and pouring gallons of water down their noses, and striping prisoners naked in sub-zero rooms for a good, long beating? Parents take note: Junior will get what junior wants.

Gear assigned to new students at our major military academies will surely include the torturer’s traditional black hood. Student practitioners will have the option of wearing the hoods themselves, or putting them over the heads of the torture subjects. Course curriculum will teach students how to locate the eye holes properly.

A quadrant in the Pentagon might be devoted to making medals for distinguished graduates having performed outstanding torture work such as getting the “enemy’s” telephone number or name of the local taxi driver. Badges and medals will be created for those particularly skilled applying the torture act.

Presidents might present such medals of valor at special public ceremonies honoring our torturers.

Let’s not forget that we are American and strive for continuous improvement and efficiency. Therefore, another wing at the Pentagon might be devoted to torture research and development.

Collections of old torture devices will be exhibited for appreciation of past achievements in torture and stimulation of future insights and methods.

Americans pride ourselves as humane, therefore medical doctors will preside over all torture sessions, should the subject cop-out on what they have coming and attempt death, or worse — attempt to overtake the torturer.

In any case of unwanted outcome, our humane military medical doctors will intervene and shoot the torture subjects with sedative guns like they do the animals on nature shows. Americans remain compassionate to underdogs when the chips are truly down.

And one day, after years of dithering and straining reason as to what torture truly is or is not, we might consider torture’s more widespread use.

Perhaps we may substitute extended torture for our lengthy death sentences, although once a certain moral threshold has been crossed, it’s enticing to consider combining both.

For if torture yields information that saves lives, and the death penalty is a proven deterrent against crime — then think of the good America can achieve by smartly torturing our death row inmates during the 20 years they languish at taxpayer expense — then execute them with taxpayer-funded, ultra-effective electrified water boards.

And someday, if they work long enough and hard enough, some of our own SCV kids might achieve an American dream, earning the high privilege of working as a professional U.S. government torturer. Soccer moms will be proud — and just a little afraid.

Phil Rizzo is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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