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March 18, 2009

The torture of reading the Washington Post

Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post has a column bemoaning a report that purports to show we tortured detainees or had it done at our behest. While the stories told are painful, we have no way of knowing their accuracy and even if taken at face value they may not even constitute torture.

Sooner or later, we will also have to hold accountable the American leaders who ordered American citizens to torture prisoners who were captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, in violation both of our Constitution and of international conventions we ratified long ago. I say "American leaders" quite deliberately: Before any investigation has taken place, it is pointless to name names and needlessly politicize what should in principle be a neutral legal process.


That seems like a fair way to begin, let's see where she takes this.

That crimes were committed is no longer in doubt.

Really now, no doubt? Perhaps the slightest inkling of an innocent until proven guilty? no? We just need to fill in the blanks and start frog-marching these American leaders off to jail. I wonder if she has a list of names? Clinton? Clinton? I kinda doubt that's who she has in mind, but don't forget for a second that he definitely led off the current round of the rendition express. But first let's look at this incontrovertible proof of criminal torture Ms. Applebaum cites.

 Mark Danner, writing in the New York Review of Books, has just published excerpts from a previously confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the interrogation methods used by the CIA in its "black site" prisons.

OK let me get this one, a writer for a book review publishes excerpts from a supposed to be confidential report by a non-governmental agency and this erases all doubt that a criminal conspiracy existed. More likely it proves that a criminal-like conspiracy to expose secrets of the US government exists among the media. But obviously this un-impeachable article in the NY Review of Books about a Red Cross report that is excerpted, previously-confidential and based on sources whose testimony cannot be doubted gets it's "facts" from.....

The Red Cross report, based on interviews its officials conducted in 2006, mentions only 14 detainees.

So this whole indictment of America is based on the
supposed testimony excerpted from a confidential, I mean formerly
confidential, report put together by the Red Cross and consists of the
stories of 14 terrorists? Well there you go. For a second I thought
this might be BS, but al Qaeda members are certainly not well-known for
training their members to lie about mistreatment precisely because the
Applebaum's of the world will usefully idiot their tales. Of course
not, terrorists say they were tortured and thus they were post ipso
crapto.


How 'bout if for a minute we examine the stories told by these innocent goat-herders and horticulturists.

 Yet the horror of the CIA interrogation tactics in these places lies not in their scale but in the doggedness with which they defied American and international law. "Waterboarding" is one of the more benign methods on a list of "alternative" interrogation methods that included many hours of forced standing, nudity, beating and kicking, confinement in a box, sleep deprivation, and exposure to cold.


Forced standing, well that is a heinous start. Nudity, good lord they nakedized them? Beating and kicking, OK at least now we have approached the level of corporal punishment or abuse. Confinement in a box, Wasn't that an 80's hit with a kicking back beat? Sleep deprivation, Ranger school students and new parents are outraged. Exposure to cold, Ranger school students and Alaskans are protesting right now.

Detainees spoke of being "strapped to a bed, in a very white room,"

With black curtains near the station, well now they are just regurgitating Cream lyrics.

of being smashed "repeatedly against the hard walls of the room,"


Which once again at least rises to the level of corporal punishment or as it was called in the military "wall to wall counseling". Heck I've done that, do I get a "torturer" tab?

of being forced to listen to unbearably loud music and deprived of solid food.


That explains the "Living in a Box" and "White Room" references.

Describing these techniques, Red Cross officials deliberately use the word "torture," with all of its legal and moral connotations.


Describing these techniques Uncle J deliberately uses the word "Hazing" as in these bastards were treated like fraternity pledges. Not to mention the ever popular comparison to the fact that every one of these techniques has been used on US troops in SERE training and fully funded by the US Congress for 50 years.

These techniques, horrific in and of themselves, did deep political damage.


That's true, they caused the weakening of a President who was busting his ass to stop more terror attacks and contributed to the election of one who ran promising we would never be mean to bad guys ever again, at least until he got into office and had to face the reality that these murderous scum were hell-bent on killing us. Then he changes the names of all these policies and continues right on.

As I have written before, and as Danner concurs, there is still no evidence that information obtained through torture was of any special value: People under extreme physical stress will say anything to make the pain stop.


Well since you two expert brainiacs have done the heavy thinking the rest of us will just take your damn word for it. Although you seem to have missed the fact that one of these 14 was Khalid "Sheikh Sheikh Sheikh" Mohammed who spilled more info about AQ and it's personnel and operations than all our combined knowledge prior to waterboarding his fat ass.

 The confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and one of the 14 "special" detainees -- were widely ignored two years ago precisely because many people assumed, rightly, that these confessions were obtained using torture.


No I guess you did notice it, you were just to fixated on "the horror" to allow the reality that we certainly stopped some upcoming attacks by rolling up cells that KSM kindly let us hear about once we turned off the faucet and the music.

What we need now, therefore, is not an endless, politicized circus of a congressional investigation into every aspect of George W. Bush's White House


Hey I thought you weren't naming names, and if we follow your folly we should definitely start with the Clinton White House and Al "Hell yeah we ought to scarf 'em up" Gore. Ahh but thta's never been what this is about is it Anne? It's that evil W & Cheney and how they subverted the America you now can love again. Well sorry honey, but the ugly side of this game has been around a lot longer than W's 8 years and yes your big-eared, honor-restoring messiah is not about to take the hit for another attack on US soil just because you get the vapors. Wrap your Snuggie up tight, nibble on a couple of Xanax, put on some Norah Jones and STFU while we make sure no one blows your dumb ass up.

digg this
posted by Uncle Jimbo at 09:19 AM

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