What we really need is for an Army Corporal to waterboard a puppy to death and post the videos on YouTube. Then you’d see people’s heads implode from the cognitive dissonance.
Now that we’ve all accepted torture as a legitimate tool of the US government, the question is simply when it’s appropriate. The answer seems to be: pretty much any time the government doesn’t like what you’re doing. Navy Veteran Donald Vance became aware of illegal arms sales in Iraq—land mines, rocket launchers, that sort of thing. He reported it to the FBI. In return, he was imprisoned as a “combatant” for 97 days and tortured.
Reporter with CNN press pass arrested for asking Rudy Giuliani a question. Mitt Romney calls for doubling the size of Guantanamo. It’s pretty scary when John McCain is left sounding like the reasonable one.
Tony Lagouranis, US army interrogator at Abu Ghraib, quoted in the Washington Post: “At every point, there was part of me resisting, part of me enjoying,” Lagouranis said. “Using dogs on someone, there was a tingling throughout my body. If you saw the reaction in the prisoner, it’s thrilling.” […] Then a soldier’s aunt sent over several copies of Viktor E. Frankel’s Holocaust memoir, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Lagouranis found himself trying to pick up tips from the Nazis.
If you’ve ever wondered who the unluckiest person in the world is, I think I’ve found him. His name is Abdul Rahim. In January 2000, he was arrested in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They tortured him. They burned him with cigarettes, smashed his hand, deprived him of sleep, submitted him to water torture, and hanged him from the ceiling. Eventually he “confessed” to being a spy for the United States.
In case anyone in the UK is feeling complacent following this week’s US torture legalization, it’s worth noting that the US agreed to return nearly all the UK residents currently being tortured in Guantanamo—and the UK government said it didn’t want them back. Four of them are still being actively torturedinterrogated.
When I first heard that Bush and Rumsfeld had signed off on pro-torture policy documents written by our new Attorney General, one of my first thoughts was: How will they react when American soldiers are tortured by foreign powers? The answer, amazingly enough, is that they are being consistent. The Bush administration is now fighting Gulf War veterans in court, trying to prevent them from claiming compensation for being tortured by Saddam Hussein.
With Ashcroft’s departure, George W. Bush has a chance to make a symbolic gesture towards uniting the nation. Instead, he has chosen Alberto Gonzales as the new Attorney General. That’s the Alberto Gonzales who wrote the memo urging that the president declare the US exempt from the Geneva Convention, because otherwise US behavior could lead to war crimes prosecutions. If you had any doubt that a vote for the Bush administration would be rewarding those who supported torture, that doubt should now be dispelled.
If you watch New Hampshire Public Television (WENH) for a while, chances are you’ll see an advertisement stating that the programming is sponsored by BAE Systems of New Hampshire. The TV ad shows happy smiling families playing baseball to raise money for the American Cancer Research Fund, and ends with the slogan “BAE Systems: A Global Company With A Local Heart”. Heartwarming stuff. Unless, of course, you know who BAE Systems actually are.
A few more bad apples. It’s starting to look as American as bad apple pie: Allegations that American soldiers routinely tortured and maltreated detainees have emerged from a third Iraqi city, renewing fears that abuse similar to that inflicted in Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad has been systematic and widespread. American soldiers in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul beat and stripped detainees, threatened sexual abuse and forced them to listen to loud western music, according to statements seen by the Guardian.