Dana Rohrabacher’s been saying stuff like this for years, only now he has an opponent who’s going to call him on it.
Today, the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight held a hearing on detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay, focusing on a recent FBI inspector general (IG) report documenting abusive practices at the facility. The report describes, among other things, a “war crimes file” created by FBI agents concerned about the interrogation tactics they witnessed at Guantanamo.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), however, sees nothing wrong with the accounts of abuse. While questioning IG Glenn Fine today, Rohrabacher insisted the report documented nothing more than “fraternity boy pranks and hazing pranks,” and hardly constituted torture:
ROHRABACHER: They seem like more like pranks, hazing pranks from some fraternity than some well-thought-out policy of how do you torture someone and get information from them. […]
I will have to tell you, when most people hear the word “torture,” which has been bandied around here, I don’t believe that they think of it as holding a growling dog near somebody but not the growling dog – you know, it’s one thing to have the growling dog eating someone’s leg or arm versus – which is absolute torture. It’s another thing to have a growling dog around, or putting panties on someone’s head, or discussing – telling him he had repressed homosexual tendencies in his presence. I mean, I’m sorry, these are acts of humiliation.
He apparently used the phrase “panties on someone’s head” 13 times in 8 minutes.
I could go on and on about how interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo violate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which ban “outrages upon personal dignity,” or the UN Convention Against Torture, or sundry torture statutes in this country, and how (as DoJ Inspector Glenn Fine said today) such tactics are not only criminal but incredibly ineffective in gathering intelligence, and how as the world’s most powerful nation we have an obligation to uphold the highest standards of human rights lest the world sink to our level, but fortunately, I don’t have to say all that this year, because Democratic nominee Debbie Cook is on the case. Here’s the statement her campaign emailed me:
“At a time when we need a serious discussion and thorough review of the allegations of torture coming out of Guantanamo Bay, Congressman Rohrabacher has used his position of trust to make jokes and liken the interrogations to nothing more than a frat party.
We need a representative in Congress who will approach the serious issues facing our country with decorum and common sense, instead of cracking jokes. Torture is not to be taken lightly especially when the prestige and moral authority of the United States government is at stake.
The voters of the 46th district deserve a Member of Congress who works hard, has a good grasp of the issues before them and who is taken seriously by their colleagues. That’s how you get things done in Congress.”
Rohrabacher is an embarrassment, and Debbie Cook is going to give the people of the 46th District a real alternative this year.