Bush Torture Memos Recut In Song (VIDEO)

Jonathan Mann, the guy who brought you the "Paul Krugman" song is back putting the Bush torture memos to music. This is the 109th video in Mann's "one song a day" project. He uses hot-button topics in the news to inspire him on his surely wearying journey, and this time he took disturbing language detailing the waterboarding technique used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times to create a song.

Last week the Department of Justice released the memos from the Office of Legal Counsel that discussed the CIA's use of torture under Bush. This decision by President Obama has been lauded by some, but several members of the last administration and their supporters have been less enthusiastic about the choice.

Click here to read the memos. Scroll down for the transcript of Mann's song.


The detainee is lying on a gurney
That's inclined at an angle: 10 to 15 degrees
A cloth is placed over the detainee's face
Cold water is poured on the cloth

The wet cloth creates
A barrier through which
It is difficult or in some cases not possible
For the detainee to breathe

If the detainee
Makes an effort to defeat the technique
By twisting his head to the side and breathing
Out the corner of his mouth
The interrogator may cup his hands around
The detainees nose and mouth
In which case it would not be possible for him to breathe!

As we explained
In the Section 2340A Memorandum,
"Pain and suffering"
(As used in Section 2340)
Is best understood as a single concept,
Not distinct concepts
Of "pain" as distinguished from "suffering"...

The waterboard,
Which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever,
Does not, in our view inflict "severe pain or suffering".
Even if one were to parse the statute more finely
To treat "suffering" as a distinct concept,
The waterboard could not be said to inflict severe suffering.

The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode,
Lacking the connotation of a protracted
Period of time generally given to suffering.