Saturday, September 30, 2006

To our everlasting shame...

This is what waterboarding looks like.

From the article:

The similarity between practices used by the Khymer Rouge and those currently being debated by Congress isn't a coincidence. As has been amply documented ("The New Yorker" had an excellent piece, and there have been others), many of the "enhanced techniques" came to the CIA and military interrogators via the SERE [Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape] schools, where US military personnel are trained to resist torture if they are captured by the enemy. The specific types of abuse they're taught to withstand are those that were used by our Cold War adversaries. Why is this relevant to the current debate? Because the torture techniques of North Korea, North Vietnam, the Soviet Union and its proxies--the states where US military personnel might have faced torture--were NOT designed to elicit truthful information. These techniques were designed to elicit CONFESSIONS. That's what the Khymer Rouge et al were after with their waterboarding, not truthful information.

Bottom line: Not only do waterboarding and the other types of torture currently being debated put us in company with the most vile regimes of the past half-century; they're also designed specifically to generate a (usually false) confession, not to obtain genuinely actionable intel. This isn't a matter of sacrificing moral values to keep us safe; it's sacrificing moral values for no purpose whatsoever.

Please remember when the time comes to vote that a vote for a Republican is a vote for torture.

It's not a vote against Queers Ruining Marriage.
It's not a vote for Family Values.
It's certainly not a vote for Smaller Government, or Fiscal Responsibility.

It's a vote to torture human beings. To deny Constitutional rights even to American citizens, should the government choose to label them terrorists.

Go take a look at the pictures. We're already doing this to people. Our federal government just voted to make it legal, and to make government employees immune to after-the-fact prosecution, for doing it.

"I was just following orders" is apparently a valid defense for war crimes, now--if you wrap yourself in the flag, first.


Acehole said...

I wanna see you grin like a loon baby!
Who is SMP - I remember that being the maths programme we had to learn at school!
(Simple Maths Problems)

weird huh?

Jeff Draper said...

I'm glad you took the time to research what a beheaded American citizen looks like and put that side by side with this post. Oh wait...

Mac said...

Nice try, Scriptorius--terrible logic. Just because the bad guys choose to engage in barbaric behavior, it certainly doesn't follow that we have some sort of moral justification to do the same.

Mac said...

Witness, SMP is St Martin's Press. :)

Jeff Draper said...

*crosses fingers*

I think you missed my point (which was easy to do since I was being snarky and obtuse) but I like you and don't want to argue. I'd rather agree on things like how incredible the Sound looks from East Marine View Drive and comiserate about the woes of the Mariners. I don't walk around all day shouting "yay torture" but I do see a world of difference between what we do (and why) and what they do (and why.)

Mac said...

Hey. Or we could talk about the new Robert Frost poem.


Anonymous said...

You realize, Mac, that this was a majority vote in Congress for passage. Meaning, Democrats voted for it as well. So voting for a Dem, w/o checking their vr, first, may be a vote for torture, also.

Granted, Bush held the power to veto the bill, either way. I'm equally ashamed of McCain for supporting it/Bush, btw. Especially w/ what McCain survived in Vietnam. Boggles my mind that he caved, of all people.

I honestly believed it would not pass. But in all fairness, the Dems who suppoorted this are equally culpable. They, along w/ the Republicans who allowed this, should not be re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Sp. error--of course "supported" only has one 'o' in it :)

Lori A. Basiewicz said...

In reading through the Geneva Conventions, I've found it to be an idealized and almost romanticized look at war. It does not seem to be grounded in reality, which is bad, given how often it is cited.

The main problem is it attempts to civilize something which, by its very nature, only occurs when civilization fails.

Anonymous said...

Some years back I researched the European Resistance of WWII. The Gestapo used a similar technique called 'the bathtub', though this also bears a close resemblance to an Inquisition technique some centuries earlier.

There's an interesting book called The Body in Pain: the making and unmaking of the world, which suggests that the real purpose of extracting information through torture is to make the victim complicit in his own destruction - which is why it doesn't matter that the information is almost always inaccurate, incoherent, and useless.