Many Republican say that torture prosecutions would be a “witch hunt” but Stephen Colbert thinks that a trial is the only way to clear the names of “patriots” like Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, John Yoo and Stephen Bradbury.
Bill Kristol seemed to agree. “I think now that the door is open — I say bring it on. Let’s have a big national debate on this,” he said on Fox News Sunday.
Colbert has an idea for conducting fair prosecutions. “Our torture trials should be conducted by children,” announced Colbert.
“Kids have no political agenda. They ask great questions like ‘Do dogs go to heaven?’ and ‘When is it appropriate to abandoned the values of our country in order to save our country?’ Plus, kids will accept ‘because I told you so’ as a legitimate answer,” he explained.
Paraphrased, the question was: What did Rice think about the things President Obama’s administration was saying about the methods the Bush administration had used to get information from detainees?
Rice said she was reluctant to criticize Obama, and then delivered her answer.
“Let me just say that President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything he could to protect the country. After September 11, we wanted to protect the country,” Rice remarked. “But he was also very clear that we would do nothing, nothing, that was against the law or against our obligations internationally. So the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country.”
“I hope you understand that it was a very difficult time,” she added. “We were all so terrified of another attack on the country. September 11 was the worst day of my life in government, watching 3,000 Americans die. . . . Even under those most difficult circumstances, the president was not prepared to do something illegal, and I hope people understand that we were trying to protect the country.”
Colbert was inspired by the fourth-grader’s question. “So let’s have Rice, Cheney and everyone else explain the nuance of their rationale to a jury of children,” he said.
How might lawyers argue for torture in front of a jury of children? Colbert explains. “For example, kids, Mr. Bunny was a bad, bad bunny and he had information that President Raccoon needed so the president got his lawyer squirrels to write a magic letter which made everything did he did perfectly legal.”
“Then Mr. Bunny was strapped to an inclined bench with a blanky over his nose and mouth and Willie the Whale squirted water into his face so Mr. Bunny thought he was drowning,” Colbert explained as if he were telling a children’s story. “But, remember, President Raccoon had a magic letter so it was not a violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Then he married a princess. The end.”
Colbert summed up his argument for allowing children to serve as jury to torture prosecutions. “After all, remember children are the future. And if we explain torture to them right, it will be a future where torture isn’t wrong.”
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, broadcast May 5, 2009.