Monday, September 18, 2006

Torture: American Style

There has been a lot of talk in the US recently about torturing terror suspects to obtain information. Of course, torture is not the word the far-right and the Bush administration would call it. According to them, this is merely causing 'discomfort'. Yeah I guess they would call it discomfort if a US soldier suffered at the hands of such treatment, right? According to O'Reilly, this is part of a far-left conspiracy:

All over the world, people think the U.S.A. supports torturing terror suspects. That's because of the awful Abu Ghraib scandal and the relentless far-left drumbeat that the Bush administration is really the Inquisition, a bunch of sadistic maniacs inflicting pain on a random basis. How many times have you heard people accuse the Bush administration of torture? On this program alone, it's been done scores of times.

So is it merely a 'far-left' drumbeat?? According to reports, Abu Zubaydah (the Al-Qaeda operative recently 'interrogated') was subjected to 'a freezing cell until he went blue, and later assailed with loud Red Hot Chili Peppers music.' Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds like torture to me. Kept in a freezing cell until he went blue? Is that what the far-right consider to be simply 'discomfort'?? But according to O'Reilly:

Torture is taking my fingers off, disfiguring me, taking my eye out -- not keeping me in a cold room and uncomfortable and blaring rock music.

Mmmm, when you put it like that..... Of course, this is typical far-right methodology. Conveniently omit the facts to build a case that defends the government. But still, torture is such an old fashioned word. It's not really applicable to the modern world, is it?

I mean, here, in all seriousness, this whole thing is so ridiculous. Suddenly now Human Rights Watch is going to be the arbiter of what is and what is not torture? In my mind, even using the word "torture" really has become meaningless, because I think the question is will the techniques that are used, the tough techniques, the harsh techniques, are they useful? Are we getting useful information?

That's right, it's meaningless. So I guess this is meaningless, right??:

The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

Try reading that passage with the words 'US marine' replacing the word 'prisoner'. How do you think Bush would react if this was done to a US serviceman? My guess is he wouldn't claim that it was just 'discomfort'. I suspect he would call it 'torture'.

Further information: The Guardian, MediaMatters, ABC, New York Times