Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jesse Ventura

Yesterday I had the chance to watch a video of Jesse Ventura (former governor of Minnesota) talking with Elizabeth Hasselbeck on "The View" about torture. Ventura was a Navy Seal, and received SERE (survival) training from the military before going to Vietnam. As I have discussed in the past, it was the SERE training - which taught our soldiers what to expect if captured by an enemy who might use torture to elicit "confessions" to use in propaganda - that got co-opted by our country, via Spokane psychologists, so that torture (and waterboarding) suddenly became a pro-active interrogation tool rather than a training tool to protect our guys, and our information, from illegal torture.

In the "View" segment, Ventura was very articulate. He had been waterboarded through his SERE training, to know what to expect in foreign countries if he got captured. "It's torture," he said. It just is. Hasselbeck attempted to distract in a variety of ways, and Ventura held his own. He also pointed out that this country has only waterboarded Muslims. Fascinating. "Why not criminals, to get a confession?" he said, and then said, because it's torture. (In fact, it goes even further than just that, though that would be enough. In part it is because "confessions" obtained through torture are so inherently unreliable that they are not admissible in courtroom cases, even to disprove a defendant's otherwise inconsistent statements.)

I've never paid a whole heck of a lot of attention to Jesse Ventura. But he was great in this clip. He sussed out the issues succinctly. He just made sense. And he knows of what he talks - he experienced the waterboarding first hand, when our country waterboarded him to help him know what to expect from countries who act illegally, unethically, immorally...

So then this a.m., I was up before 6 a.m. (unfortunately) and thought, hmm, since I'm awake, I might as well take a gander at "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. Sometimes I like this show, though it's sort of a sitting-duck arrangement for the host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican U.S. representative. Joe can be a bully and the show is set up to let him bully whoever when he's in the mood. Still, they have good comentators and sometimes it is worth watching.

This morning? Not so much. I flipped it off about as soon as I flipped it on. His target? Jesse Ventura. I didn't need to listen to much more, after I heard Joe say there should be a law against "being that stupid."

Seriously? Ventura was articulate on "The View." He was real. He was smart. He was compassionate to a different point of view while simultaneously extremely clear that the view was incomplete, misinformed.

It just may be that this a.m. was the last time I watch "Morning Joe." It's one thing to disagree. It's another to be an attack dog, and to laugh arrogantly, when you know - you know (and I believe Joe Scarborough knows) that you are attacking someone who is telling the truth. I thought Joe was better than that kind of blatant partisan line.

Here's a clip discussing Ventura and Scarborough. (Also, interesting note - some of those sticking up for Scarborough say that Ventura "admitted" that this country waterboards because he "admitted" that he himself was waterboarded. Those comments fail to understand the SERE program.)


Anonymous said...

I'm form Minnesota, and I loved Jesse Ventura. He stopped public funding of a new Baseball Stadium by saying "When all Schools are less than 15 years old, then we will replace the 15 year old metrodome".

Beth Bollinger said...

That matches his no-nonsense approach to this issue, doesn't it?