Meanwhile, every fucking network, website, radio station, newspaper and magazine in America runs hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories -- implausible, containing to truth whatsoever, based on obviously fraudulent documents and testimony, and on top of all that, flagrantly politically motivated -- about John Kerry's military service. The ensuing outrage culminates in a collective yawn from the voting public and the re-election of the president. No one even cares when the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" disband, having served their purpose as a propaganda mouthpiece for the G.O.P.; no one is in the least interested in firing anyone over having given a billion hours of airtime to these transparent dissimulators.
Meanwhile, in the trial of Abu Ghraib torture boss Chuck "Ve Are Goink to Cut Off Your Chonson" Graner, defense attorney Guy Womack offers a fun rationalization:
Womack said pictures that appeared to portray abuse, such as one showing the detainees stacked in the human pyramid and another showing (Lyndie) England holding a naked Iraqi prisoner by a leash, did not depict any wrongdoing.
"You've probably been in a shopping mall and seen children on a tether," Womack told the jurors. "You see a picture of men stacked up in a pyramid. Don't cheerleaders form pyramids all across America?"
Now, it's all well and good to laugh at these sorts of woozy defenses (Twinkies made me kill the mayor and that fag councilman; we didn't rape her, she forced us to make hardcore porn videos of her while she was drunk and unconscious; and so on). But the thing is, they tend to work. That's why defense attorneys use them. They can size up pretty easily whether or not a jury wants to believe that someone is guilty or not, so the story they tell isn't really that important. That's why a totally bogus story by a defense attorney will work (my client is innocent despite the matching DNA evidence and the blood on his clothes, because the racist police set him up) -- because the jury wants the guy to get off, and just wants a good excuse for letting him off. Likewise, that's why a totally bogus story by a prosecutor will work (the defendant is guilty despite the fact that there's no evidence tying him to the crime and he was in a different state when it happened, because look at him, he's obviously a criminal gangbanger type) -- because the jury wants the guy to do time, and just needs a good excuse for convicting him.
That said, this is one of the better lame excuses I've ever heard, and 'tis finer to laff than kry, so today's assignment is:
Formulate a justification for some horrible crime that follows the "putting people on a leash isn't torture because parents put harnesses on their kids at malls"/"forcing people into a naked human pyramid isn't torture because cheerleaders form pyramids all the time" formulation.
By the way, if the Abu Ghraib photos had been of naked cheerleaders forming a human pyramid, there would have been less collective outrage, I bet.