Asked last night in Iowa about Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s refusal to call waterboarding torture, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said “it depends on the circumstances” and “on who does it” because “liberal newspapers have exaggerated it.”
Giuliani then called liberals “silly” for describing “sleep deprivation” as torture, joking that “on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States”:
And I see, when the Democrats are talking about torture, they’re not just talking about even this definition of waterboarding, which again, if you look at the liberal media and you look at the way they describe it, you could say it was torture and you shouldn’t do it. But they talk about sleep deprivation. I mean, on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly. That’s silly.
Giuliani should familiarize himself with the US Army Field Manual on Interrogation, which describes “abnormal sleep deprivation” as a form of mental torture. Both the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of Israel have ruled sleep deprivation to be inhumane and unlawful.
Giuliani’s dismissive joke echoes a similarly tasteless joke made by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2002. In the margins of an “action memo” declaring “stress positions,” such as standing for up to 4 hours, to be acceptable interrogation techniques, Rumsfeld scrawled “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?”