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American Torture in One Paragraph

In a Salon post titled, “What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report” at http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/08/24/ig_report/, Glenn Greenwald boils down many of the torture techniques endorsed and practiced by the Bush Administration into a single paragraph:

UPDATE II: To those blithely dismissing all of this as things that don’t seem particularly bothersome, I’d say two things:

(1) The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle — all things that we have always condemned as “torture” and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies (“torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .”) — reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.

These abuses were documented by the CIA itself in 2004 in an Inspector General’s report available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/19048327/Released-CIA-Report-post911.

Read Greenwald’s entire blog entry for report excerpts showing that a number of agency personnel felt pretty sure they were violating torture bans but opted to do so in light of the Office of Legal Counsel memos saying what they were doing wasn’t torture in the US.

I am extremely disappointed in the Obama administration for not prosecuting the high level torture enablers. Although I believe the Obama administration is not currently torturing people, their acceptance of the “I follow orders” defense of people who stayed within the OLC guidelines ensures this sort of behavior will happen again and again. America deserves better.

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One Response

  1. Amen. Thanks for posting about a difficult subject some Americans would rather not think about.

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