Jesse Ventura was on CNN with Larry King on Monday night and this exchange occurred, illustrating how simple, clear and definitively non-partisan is the case for investigations and prosecutions for those who ordered torture (video below):Let's just repeat that: "I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law." That is the crux of the case for investigations and prosecutions. That's it. Can anyone find a "liberal" or ideological argument anywhere in what Ventura said? It's about as far from a partisan or "leftist" idea as one can get. Yet our establishment media has succeeded (as Digby recently argued) in converting this view into a "Hard Left," "liberal" or "partisan" argument because that's the only prism through which they can understand anything, and that's their time-honored instrument for demonizing any idea that threatens their institutional prerogatives and orthodoxies (only the Hard Left favors this).
VENTURA: I don't watch much TV. This year's reading, I covered Bush's life. I covered Guantanamo and a few other subjects.
And I'm very disturbed about it.
I'm bothered over Guantanamo because it seems we've created our own Hanoi Hilton. We can live with that? I have a problem.
I will criticize President Obama on this level; it's a good thing I'm not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law.
KING: You were a Navy SEAL.
VENTURA: That's right. I was water boarded, so I know -- at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion. It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence -- every one of us was waterboarded. It is torture.
KING: What was it like?
VENTURA: It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.
This is not a partisan argument. It's not an ideological one. It's not a question of values or of opinions. Those who ordered torture and those who tortured broke the law.
That this has become a partisan argument shows the complete fecklessness of the media and the total cynicism of the Republican party. And it doesn't speak too well of Obama, Pelosi, or the other Democrats who've decided this isn't that big a deal, either.
If Obama doesn't want these people to go to jail, he should be forced to issue pardons. None of this "I want to look forwards, not backwards" garbage. The government is not a human being with a neck injury. It *can* look forwards and backwards. I understand that he'd rather focus on other priorities, but what does that say to the world? Everybody's going to think -- perhaps correctly -- that we're just like dictatorships all over the world that claim to oppose torture while giving their interrogators a nod and a wink? We can't just pretend it never happened. We need to find out exactly what did happen, and we need to punish those who made it happen. And then we need to make sure it never happens again.