With G.W. Bush on the airwaves again touting his new book and bringing us back to the days when torture was justified by the old gang in power–Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld–who let others do their dirty work at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Abu Ghraib prison, and CIA black sites,  I can’t resist adding my two cents on torture. I am a bit of an expert. 

Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld are small-minded thinkers when it comes to torture—big time. In our fight against extremists, we’ve squandered our finest resources–our people and our culture (oh, yeah, our integrity and values, too)–when we are perfectly capable of torturing ourselves right here in the USA.

I propose a group of enhanced interrogation techniques that all patriotic Americans can be proud to utilize. Everywhere in our midst are expertly trained practitioners whose talents we’ve been wasting. Putting them to work against those goddamned (alleged) terrorists will be a boon to our economy and entertaining as hell.

First, I’d like to inflict a weekend visit to almost anyone’s in-laws on a select group of terrorists. Waterboarding is child’s play compared to being forced to sit around the kitchen table there with only water to drink: waterboring I call it.

Mother-in-law: “So, you remember Dottie Umbercrumby?” (No, I don’t, and the terrorists won’t either; that’s the key to this technique.) “Well, she had her gallbladder out, and poor thing, her son, you know, Scott, the one whose dog bit Melody Haskell the day that awful Joey Terrideau, who went to high school with Sam Wiggsworth who used to work with Sal Toledo–was it at the Bi-lo? or no, I think it was the Acme–burned down his father’s house, he lost his job and moved back in with her but doesn’t even go to the grocery store for her!”  Deep breath. “And did you hear that Franny’s cousin’s uncle died last week? Right after his daughter’s mother-in-law’s step-niece wrecked her Dodge Dart running that light over near where Keltie’s used to be.”

Father-in-law: “For Christ’s sake, it wasn’t at Keltie’s! It was the corner of Broad and Stafford, near where Morey’s Subs used to be, and she was driving her mother’s LeBaron that never had the god-damned spark plugs adjusted right!

And in a feint that would make Colombo proud—Mother-in-law: “I always use Gold Medal flour. How about you?”  Torture in any language—ad nauseum. I dare the terrorists to ask for their take on health care.

This next technique works best when the prisoner is wearing a bathrobe and slippers and is looking forward to a relaxing weekend in his cell. Have someone ring a doorbell. The alleged terrorist must answer the door, and then let three Jehovah’s Witnesses have at him. He is not allowed to sit down or move from the door until the women are willing to give up sharing their good news and bad literature. This will not happen. Suggested substitution: two baby-faced Mormon missionaries. In the future, the sound of a doorbell on a weekend will instill terror in them, guaranteed. I know it works for me.

Here’s an especially cruel one: tell the alleged terrorist he can go home now. With a hood over his head, walk him to a high tech room set up to mimic Northern Virginia’s Mixing Bowl at rush hour in July. Give him keys to a specially-rigged virtual reality car with no AC and let him “drive.” With the sounds of road rage pumped in–horns honking, tires squealing, people cussing, and radio traffic alerts that contradict each other–he’ll never go anywhere but crazy.

For the hard cases, torture by teenager is the obvious choice, or forced attendance at PTA meetings where the topics range from which shade of green should be on the school seal that will grace the decorative plate to be sold at the bookstore to the numbers of paper products left over from the post-prom party. That ought to break them. Feel free to inflict mind-numbingly bad church services, interminable meetings at work, or City Council meetings with open microphones on the criminal masterminds. The possibilities of homegrown torture are as endless as the amber waves of grain.

These methods are time-tested and foolproof, and  I promise that divulging these techniques has not endangered our national security one iota. As long as the terrorists’ hearing is intact, no amount of preparation or training can help men outwit or outlast these proven techniques. Only knitting like a crazy person and doing Kegel exercises (sorry guys) have been shown to minimize the excruciating pain of these methods, and even then only just. Trust me.

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