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Boston.com / The torturers among us

I won’t mention that coworker of mine that started a comment in which he excused the MPs from their torturous acts upon the prisoners of war.  See, I didn’t mention it.

By Robert Kuttner | June 9, 2004

WHAT HAVE we learned so far about officially sponsored torture by the US government?

First, it is unambiguously clear that the torture of prisoners in Afghanistan, at Guantanamo, and at Abu Ghraib was official policy. Lawyers for the Pentagon and the White House, reporting directly to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush, wrote contorted legal briefs trying to define a category of person immune to both due process of law and the Third Geneva Convention. As recently disclosed Pentagon memos divulge, one explicit purpose was to justify torture as a technique of interrogation.

Second, the grotesque abuses at Abu Ghraib were therefore not the work of a few renegade freaks. Official policy was that coercion should be used to pry information out of prisoners. The torture techniques were at first wielded by military and CIA interrogation specialists and limited to “high value” captives.

But as torture moved down the chain of command, it further degenerated from a twisted and illegal means of interrogation into a sadistic sport for ordinary soldiers to apply to ordinary prisoners. This deterioration is predictable. It has happened under every totalitarian regime, from Stalin to Hitler to Torquemada. When torture is official policy, ordinary soldiers and police let their frustrations and imaginations run wild. This is why civilized nations ban torture categorically.

Read More Here


Posted by SPN on 06/09 at 09:49 PM in Blogging

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