Does Sean Hannity Really Want to Talk About Waterboarding?

After Sarah Palin’s morally bankrupt declaration that waterboarding is like baptism, Sean Hannity — of all people — is coming to her defense, spinning a lurid scenario that would haunt any parent. Wouldn’t you waterboard someone to save your children?

The Fox News and conservative radio show host on Monday defended former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) comment over the weekend that “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

“Well what do you want to do with terrorists?” Hannity asked on his radio show before diving into a hypothetical in which someone kidnaps three kids. In his comparison, the authorities detain one of the kidnappers, but the kids are still missing.

“Let’s see. Would you want to baptize by water boarding the guy who took your three children? I think would. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t really be much of a question. I think I’d baptize them again and again and again until I found out where my kids are,” he said.

Leaving aside the fact that torturing someone actually makes it less likely that you would get information out of them, is this a subject Hannity really wants to bring up? It’s been exactly five years now since he agreed on national television to be waterboarded to show that it isn’t torture and he has yet to do it. And boy does he not like it when people bring up his dishonesty and his cowardice.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Leaving aside the fact that torturing someone actually makes it less likely that you would get information out of them, is this a subject Hannity really wants to bring up?

    If it’s “less likely” then why is it so accurate? I mean, he just brought it up and already he knows where his kids are!

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Hannity also recently defended a man that set a deadly trap for a pair of teenagers he suspected of breaking into his home. Apparently Hannity’s only objection to the whole situation was that the man referred to the teens as “vermin”, cause you know that’s what immediately jumps out as being wrong about the whole thing.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/02/1296335/-Sean-Hannity-Defends-Brutal-Killer

  • zmidponk

    “Let’s see. Would you want to baptize by water boarding the guy who took your three children? I think would. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t really be much of a question. I think I’d baptize them again and again and again until I found out where my kids are,” he said.

    Let’s suppose for a moment that there was absolutely zero doubt that the person detained was definitely one of the actual kidnappers who definitely knew the precise location of your kids at that very moment, and that the other kidnappers, if there are any, being rather stupid, did not decide to move your kids after their fellow kidnapper got detained. Assuming this is a ‘kidnap for ransom’ scenario, there’s a time limit for the ransom to be met, after that, the best you can hope for is eventually finding the bodies of the victims. Any kidnapper that even has a modicum of intelligence would know that this gives them a certain degree of power, even if they’re actually well and truly caught. This means that, even if the suffering caused by the torture overcomes their will to simply stay silent, they just have to give a false address, and waste your limited time by forcing you to check it out. More traditional interrogation techniques would have a much better chance of actually getting the information you need to find your kids alive, so, if I were in this situation, the only reason I’d want to use waterboarding is if the situation had made my emotions cloud my judgement so that I was more interested in making them suffer than finding out what they know.

  • chrisdevries

    Behold! The moral superiority of extreme conservatism!

    Honestly, I don’t get their whole obsession with torture. Even if torture produced reliable information, it is fundamentally immoral. Furthermore, engaging in ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ has harmed America’s ability to condemn this kind of behavior when other countries do it. And the fact that Obama decided not to prosecute those who used their authority to allow torture to take place means that there is no chance of regaining the moral high ground, no way for justice to prevail.

    I have always said that citizens of a free and democratic nation are implicitly committed to the ideals their nation upholds that enable them to live productive, happy lives, free from oppression. This means that even in a situation where torturing a ‘terrorist’ would produce reliable information that the police could use to stop a legitimate plot that would kill civilians, I would rather sacrifice lives (even if one was my own) than ideals. In other words, it is better to die because the authorities upheld a country’s commitment to human rights than to live because a country threw human rights under the bus. In my opinion, at least, this is the moral path.

  • Michael Heath

    Sean Hannity:

    “Well what do you want to do with terrorists?”

    Mr. Hannity’s rhetorical question is dishonest. Sarah Palin was advocating that the U.S. torture detainees, prior to even establishing whether those detainees were in fact terrorists, or not. That’s important to point out because:

    a) The U.S. did detain people and torture them until they died; where those victims were in fact innocents (see Jane Mayer’s reports for validation).

    b) The U.S. has no stomach for prosecuting those complicit in torturing even the innocents.

    Of course a reasonable person could also conclude that Ms. Palin and Mr. Hannity are purposefully deploying a non sequitur here. That all brown-skinned Muslims detained by the U.S. are terrorists. Not that these two necessarily believe that in spite of their delusional idiocy, but that it plays well with their conservative Christian audience. And not that their conservative Christian audience actually believe that either, but instead that their audience demonstrably enjoys defaming and hating on “the other”.

  • chrisdevries

    By engaging in these reprehensible actions, the USA has lost the moral high ground on human rights (not that it had such a high ground to begin with, see for e.g. the Monroe Doctrine). The ideals upon which the US Constitution is based have proven to be nothing but suggestions to the present-day powers that be. So in a sense, the 9/11 hijackers have done possibly irreparable damage to the USA inasmuch as they put America in a position from which it destroyed itself.

    Fear – it all boils down to fear. The Bush Administration proved its weakness, not is strength in committing all sorts of war crimes and crimes against humanity; they let their fear justify their evil (not a word I use often, but a word that is supremely appropriate here I think). And they will never pay for their cowardice (or at least it doesn’t appear they will). To me, this makes Obama an accomplice after the fact (adding to his own impressive list of questionable tactics that sometimes cross the line into war crimes territory).

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Sean Hannity being a fuckbag is news in the same sense that me drinking a beer is news; iow, it’s banal, predictable and–dare I say it?–emblematic of Brand Hannity.

    Unlike most other commenters on Dispatches I actually wish that smug, bloviating, lying for lucre asswipes like Hannity, Limbaugh, virtually everyone who’s a public fact at FuckTheNew’sCorpse and even Palin might have an opportunity to experience all of the viciousness that they so blithely wish upon others.

  • Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    “What do you want to do with terrorists?” is actually revealing. He’s not asking “what is the right thing to do in this situation?” either morally or tactically. (In practice, we also know that torture doesn’t work: but “should we imprison a terrorist for past crimes, if that increases the chance of future terrorist acts?” is one where the “right” answer may come down to how you define “justice.”)

    He is talking about his desires. So what we know–and already knew–is that he wants to hurt the people he defines as his enemies.

  • dave

    Sean Hannity Says:

    Would you want to baptize by water boarding the guy who took your three children? I think would.

    Ed Says

    It’s been exactly five years now since he [Sean Hanniity] agreed on national television to be waterboarded to show that it isn’t torture and he has yet to do it.

    I dont think we should give him the choice. As far as I know, Glen Beck has still not denied that he murdered and raped three girls in 1990. Im sure it would give parents everywhere, as well as the nation, much needed closure to know exactly what happened. Sean Hannity is a known associate of Glen Beck’s. By his own logic, we should waterboard baptise him until he tells us what he knows.

  • felidae

    I am grateful that Mediaite and Media Matters are around to viciously attack Hannity and his ilk by that underhanded, far left tactic of REPEATING WHAT THEY SAY on the internet. Hannity and O’Reilly are both consummate cowards who resort to anger when anyone challenges them

  • Michael Heath

    chrisdevries writes:

    . . . [The Bush Administration] will never pay for their cowardice (or at least it doesn’t appear they will). To me, this makes Obama an accomplice after the fact . . .

    Actually President Obama isn’t an accomplice based merely on an argument from morality as you make here. The U.N. Treaty President Reagan signed and the attendant U.S. Senate confirmed makes President Obama’s behavior open to criminal prosecution. I.e., subsequent administrations have a legal duty to prosecute their predecessors if their predecessors committed torture; which President Bush clearly authorized and his administration followed through and did.

  • psweet

    Under the circumstances he outlined, wouldn’t it make more sense to offer the guy a plea deal contingent upon the kids being recovered unharmed? I mean, it’s not like this guy’s going to get any of the ransom money under any circumstances, right?

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    It’s been exactly five years now since he (Sean Hannity -ed) agreed on national television to be waterboarded to show that it isn’t torture and he has yet to do it. And boy does he not like it when people bring up his dishonesty and his cowardice.

    Got to respect the way Hitchens agreed to be waterboarded and actually underwent it. he was courageous and honest there and it would be good to see Hannity – and Palin too – also have courage to do this as well. That they don’t, says again that they’re all piss and wind.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    FWIW, I would be game to give that a go myself if anyone wanted – undergo waterboarding as an experience that is. Quite seriously. I’m sure there are plenty here that would happily take on the torturers role in my case..

    I guess arranging and proving it would be difficult though.

    Apparently military personal in Australia – at least the SAS are tortured in a training excercise although not sure whether water boarding is part of that from a half -remembered story in the newspaper some months ago. I expect it is similar for US and other militaries at least the elite troops as part of the training to endure and not crack under torture.

  • dingojack

    Stevo – is this what you were thinking of?

    “So-called ”resistance to interrogation” training (RTI) for soldiers in Australia has also run awry in the past. Defence has now shed the term RTI and prefers to talk instead of ”conduct after capture”, or CAC training. But it still has the same aim – to ”train selected ADF personnel to resist interrogation conducted by a hostile enemy captor”.”

    Drawing the line at torture Deborah Snow. SMH 24 March 2012.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Hannity is a liar, a coward, a thief (hello, Veterans’ Benefit scam) an apologist for torture AND a chickenhawk. Why the hell isn’t he in Congress?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    FWIW, I would be game to give that a go myself if anyone wanted – undergo waterboarding as an experience that is. Quite seriously. I’m sure there are plenty here that would happily take on the torturers role in my case..

    You can do it to yourself, and post the videos.

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=448717

    Explains how.

    Your move, tough guy.

  • jamessweet

    Leaving aside the fact that torturing someone actually makes it less likely that you would get information out of them

    That’s the crux of the biscuit, ain’t it? Would I compromise principles and torture someone if it really would save my kids’ lives? As Palin would say, “You betcha!” But it most likely wouldn’t do any good, so…

    FWIW, I would be game to give that a go myself if anyone wanted – undergo waterboarding as an experience that is.

    There’s a part of me that would consider it as well. However, there’s an important point not to be missed here. I can’t remember if it was Hitchens who said this himself, or if it was somebody else pointing it out in the wake of Hitchens’ experiment, but in any case: It’s not the full experience if you get to tap out, which would pretty much by definition be the case for someone who is undergoing it voluntarily. The thing with waterboarding is it makes your brain say, “Holy fuck, I’m drowning!” Which is pretty terrifying and painful already even if the full thought is “Holy fuck, I’m drowning! I need to stop this and breathe!” But what if the full thought is “Holy fuck, I’m drowning AND I CAN’T MAKE IT STOP!”?