Great Moments in Legislating: Brian Nieves edition (Part 2)

Late yesterday afternoon, as GOP Leaders were running out the clock to avoid votes on health care for the working poor and autism coverage, Denny Hoskins' private prisons bill was brought up for debate. No doubt, the leadership was hoping to give Hoskins a feather in his cap to balance out some of the problems he's had in his first session. 

But during the debate on the measure, for reasons unknown, Rep. Brian Nieves thought he'd found the perfect opportunity to respond to Thursday's post about his offensive mocking of the ongoing national debate about the utility, legality and wisdom of torturing terrorist suspects and detainees. In the clip below, you can Nieves embark on a second disconcerting rant about (the first one is here), apparently upset that I'd questioned his devotion to waterboarding.

Rereading my post, I'm really not sure how Nieves reached the conclusion that I was unclear about his support of waterboarding. Nevertheless, I'm glad that Nieves has settled the matter once and for all: he's a huge fan of waterboarding terrorists, but not American citizens.

However, this Nieves Doctrine of torturing terrorists -- but not American citizens -- raises another whole set of questions. For instance:

  • Why does Nieves believe that terrorists can't be Americans and that Americans can't be terrorists?  They aren't mutually exclusive groups.
  • How does the Nieves Doctrine address situations in which an individual is both a terrorist and an American citizen?   For instance, would it have been okay to waterboard Timothy McVeigh or Unabomber Ted Kaczynski?
  • If waterboarding is both (a) not torture and (b) effective, then why wouldn't we do it to citizens?  If it's not immoral and would achieve positive results, aren't we compelled to utilize the procedure at every opportunity?  

Seems like a bit of a Pandora's box to me.

(And lest anyone think they can dismiss Nieves as some crazy back-bencher, remember that Nieves is the GOP Majority Whip -- the #5 Republican in the whole House of Represenatives.)

 

 

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