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Sarah Palin waterboarding: Palin would use waterboarding to 'baptize' terrorists

Sarah Palin’s waterboarding thoughts struck a chord at the annual National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis over the weekend. Perhaps spurred on by a raucous crowd, the former governor of Alaska discussed enemies of America and how they should be treated. Palin’s off the cuff one-liners went over great with gun enthusiasts, but the controversy and criticisms immediately followed Palin’s wisecracking speech.

Sarah Palin on waterboarding: Use it to "baptize" terrorists.
Sarah Palin on waterboarding: Use it to "baptize" terrorists.
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick

CBS News on April 27 reported on Palin’s comments. “If you've ever wondered how U.S. counter-terrorism policy would differ if former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, were president, you now have at least part of your answer,” writes CBS. The Republican Party nominee for Vice President in 2008 sounded more like she was doing a stand-up routine as she laid quips down left and right to the enthusiastic audience.

Discussing how the United States “pokes our enemies in the eyes” and “coddles” adversaries instead of “putting the fear of God into them,” Palin rolled out her what may have been her harshest line: “Enemies who would utterly annihilate America – they who'd obviously have information on plots, to carry out Jihad… Oh, but you can't offend them, can't make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge,” she said, as the audience erupted in applause at the prospect, “they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

Waterboarding is a form of water torture. While a cloth covers a victim’s mouth and nose, water is poured over the face, causing the immobilized captive to experience the sensation of drowning. According to its Wiki page, waterboarding can “cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage, and death.”

But that was hardly Palin’s only witticism that night.

Speaking of women and their increased desire to carry a weapon, Palin said that Joe Biden once advocated that if attacked, women should “fire a warning shot up in the air.” Palin then took her own shot at the Vice President:

Remember when he told women before an assault, just fire a warning shot until the cops show up. Yeah, just aim up in the air –that was his directive, his advice. Well, fine, Joe Squirt Gun… if your rapist is a bird! Gals, you know that now-a-days ammo is expensive. Don't waste a bullet, on a warning shot.

Palin also spoke about how just about everyone is protected by a gun or by gun-carrying security – congressmen, the president, celebrities, airports, banks, jewelry stores, even “anti-gun mayors.” But laws against having weapons in schools leave our children vulnerable to horrific attacks. Palin said the only protection children have is a “thin, tin sign that reads: Gun Free Zone. Yeah like that will stop the bad guys. That is stupid on steroids.”

Palin continued, and the crowd received her like a rock star. She spoke of “intolerant, anti-freedom leftist liberals,” calling them “hypocrites” and “clownish little Kumbaya-humming fairy-tale-inhaling liberals.” She said they “preach tolerance and free speech,” and that kids “cussing like a character in a Tarantino movie, that’s fine, but a kid saying a prayer in school? Those hypocrites lose their mind.”

Palin also derided what she argued is a “blame the messenger” attitude on gun violence that many Americans take today, and the fact that reputable gun stores and sporting good stores are seen as accomplices to gun violence. “Gun stores are an accomplice to crime,” she said, “and that fork made me fat.”

Here is a YouTube link to Palin’s full 12-minute speech.

The CSMonitor reported that Palin received “criticism from several directions. On the one hand, you had left-leaning types rising to the bait,” calling the whole thing an “elaborate revenge upon Sen. John McCain, in which Palin knowingly says things that will make him cringe as payback for not supporting her enough after picking her as his running mate in 2008.” McCain is an adamant opponent of waterboarding; McCain himself was a prisoner of war and was tortured.

The Monitor also says Palin "got some pushback from conservatives who felt her comment was sacrilegious."

What are your thoughts on Palin’s comments? Over the top or do they tickle you just right? Leave your comments below.