Is waterboarding more like swimming or eating rice pilaf?

Well, whatever, it's just part of the Democrats' "blame America first" agenda, right?

By Tim Grieve

Published December 12, 2007 3:31PM (EST)

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night, long-shot GOP presidential candidate Duncan Hunter declared that opposition to waterboarding is "part of the Democrat blame America first" agenda and goes "right along with their desire to close Guantánamo, where the terrorists are gaining weight on American menus that include honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf."

Hunter's comments came immediately after Bill O'Reilly told him that Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee oppose waterboarding -- and just before the New York Times posted an interview with Huckabee in which he said he thought Hunter is "extraordinarily well qualified to be secretary of defense."

To be fair, Hunter's comments about waterboarding may not have been the most ridiculous of the evening. Appearing on PBS's "NewsHour" Tuesday night, GOP Sen. Kit Bond -- who opposes a ban on waterboarding but says he would "not favor it in any circumstance" -- reached for an aquatics metaphor to explain why he doesn't think the procedure is torture. "There are different ways of doing it," Bond said. "It's like swimming, freestyle, backstroke. The waterboarding could be used almost to define some of the techniques that our trainees are put through, but that's beside the point. It's not being used."

Bond made his comments right after saying it was "absolutely outrageous" for a former CIA officer to go public with his account of waterboarding a detainee because "once you describe what techniques are being used ... then the high-value detainees will never speak to us."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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