There is a peculiar aspect to the debate over the use of waterboarding on terrorist detainees. Those who have actually experienced the procedure first hand insist it is ineffective at best and torture at worst. Those who couldn't be more removed from its employment argue that it works in thwarting terrorist attacks.
On Monday's taping of The View, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura -- who was waterboarded as part of his military training -- repeated the mantra he offered last week, calling waterboarding torture and demanding criminal prosecution for those who authorized it.
"I would prosecute the people who did it," he said. "I would prosecute the people who ordered it. And they would all go to jail."
His opponent in the debate was none other than the conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who insisted that the technique worked in breaking down al Qaeda suspects.
The exchange was good-natured and lively, with Ventura asking some leading rhetorical questions before making a few rather provocative political points.
"If waterboarding is OK, why don't we let our police do it to suspects so they can learn what they know?" he asked. "If waterboarding is OK, why didn't we waterboard [Timothy] McVeigh and Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombers, to find out if there were more people involved? ... We only seem to waterboard Muslims... Have we waterboarded anyone else? Name me someone else who has been waterboarded."
Hasselbeck, for her part, tried to pin the debate on Nancy Pelosi, whom she accused of lying about what and when she knew of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.
"What do you think about Nancy Pelosi in terms of what she's claiming with the CIA lying?" she asked, to begin the segment.
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"I think what's worse is the fact that it happened," replied Ventura. "If we hadn't waterboarded to begin with, none of this would be a controversy, would it? Torture is torture. If you're going to be a country that follows the rule of law, which we are, torture is illegal."
The whole thing is worth a watch, including the part where Hasselbeck asks Ventura if he would favor prosecuting Barack Obama for signing off on the killing of the Somali Pirates who briefly held Americans hostages.
"Apples and Oranges," Ventura replied.
A special thanks to Media Monitor Jane B. for passing on the clip.