2005-08-16

The torture president

If George Bush is going to remembered for anything, it will probably be for making his country guilty of torture, and reversing a century's worth of effort to ban the practice. So why is his Department of Defence in court fighting against the release of more photos which they have in their possession documenting the practice of torture? Part of the reason we do not know because DoD is asking the court to keep its legal arguments secret. Part of it is reported as the fear that if the photos are released, there may be rioting and attacks.

A couple of points here. First, comments by people who have seen the photos in question suggest that they are absolutely shocking and scurrilous, which I believe. Second, nobody has bothered to deny either the fact that torture is practiced or the existence of documents (produced by the perpetrators themselves) showing the details. Third, regardless of whether the military wins or loses the lawsuit filed by ACLU to force the release of the photos, the photos are going to be made public by somebody, because these sorts of secrets rarely remain secret.

The principal legal argument being deployed by the military seems to amount to if people knew what we are doing, they would be angry. But they do, and they are.

For further discussion, listen to Chris Lydon's interviews.

3 comments:

Yakima_Gulag said...

Now that you have been traveling in the more obscure portions of our country, if you listened to the radio at all you knkow that the torture is defended vociferously!
It's a terrible policy. If we as a country mistreat prisoners of war, then our soldiers are at increased risk if they are prisoners.
That doesn't just apply to the war that is going on now, it will carry over into the next time we are at war. It lowers the tone of things.
War is already bad enough without this sort of thing.
Our milietary doesn't know in all cases who in fact is or is not a terrorist. If mistakes are routine on the 'No Fly' list, with people who are Americans, then how much more likely is it for mistakes to occur in a foreign country with unfamiliar sorts of names?

Eric Gordy said...

I'll admit that I avoid a lot of the right-wing radio shows, except when I am very bored or can't sleep. There is too much good music in the world to indulge a lot of that stuff. But what I have heard of the pro-torture argument has been mostly based either on dehumanising the victims or on ideas of revenge. Nobody seems to seriously defend the idea that torture is a good way of getting information from people. And it isn't -- unless the goal is to force another person to say something that has been fully conceived beforehand. In the meantime, the practice makes the US look to the rest of the world like, well, a country that tortures.

Yakima_Gulag said...

yes and it is American right wing talk show hosts who most whip up sentiment for it. Unfortunately I live in a place where that type of propaganda is rife and I have to counter it on a regular basis. So if I don't even know what lies they are telling any given day, I'm kind of helpless
I listen to good music too. There are times I rejoice when there's endless baseball on the local station! Then I crank up Shoutcast !