News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


SpongeBob could torture terrorists

U.S. intelligence agents who interrogate suspected terrorists keep bumping into the Geneva Convention and other annoying inconveniences.

As our great Christian nation has learned, the key is to torture people without getting caught.

One option is to ship detainees to third-party countries where interrogators aren't hindered by former Vietnam POWs and other critics who seem unfairly biased against well-intentioned torture. But now this third-party approach is under fire in Congress.

What's an enterprising CIA agent to do?

Try asking parents. They know a secret method of torture that doesn't require car batteries or dental instruments. They know how to reduce the hardest suspect into a shriveling, pitiful mess. They know how to make big bad terrorists beg for mercy.

All it requires is a loud TV and 24 hours of "SpongeBob SquarePants."

As unethical as it might seem, subjecting detainees to non-stop SpongeBob will leave no physical evidence of abuse.

Other than a tendency to place both hands over their ears and rock back and forth in the fetal position while moaning "God help me," suspects will escape with no scars or bruises.

But they'll talk. Oh yes, they'll sing like a bird to make the pain go away.

And if those namby-pamby human rights activists walk in for a surprise inspection, the CIA can hit the mute button and act innocent. Without his little high-pitched nasal voice, SpongeBob is just a harmless cartoon fry cook.

Torture by SpongeBob apparently has precedence.

The military is already torturing prisoners by subjecting them to 24 hours of Barney the purple dinosaur's song, "I Love You," according to a new book.

Oh, the inhumanity. Do we have no conscience? Clearly this crosses some kind of ethical line in the treatment of detainees.

The book, entitled "The Men Who Stare at Goats," claims the technique evolved from a secret wing of the U.S. Army called the First Earth Battalion.

Author Jon Ronson says the Army formed the battalion in 1979 to create "Warrior Monks" who could become invisible, read minds, walk through walls and kill goats by staring at them.

Before you dismiss it outright, read some of the book reviews in respectable publications.

"Who on earth authorized such a program?" reports Christianity Today. "Therein hangs a tale, the twists and turns of which Ronson follows expertly in this astonishing piece of surrealist reporting — the funniest, strangest, most surprising book of the year."

Torture by SpongeBob? Ask any parent. It could happen.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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