Views on torture

Bugged by torture claims

Amy Goodman’s column “Torturers must be prosecuted” (April 23) misses the mark on several counts.

First, putting a person in a large box with a bug inside is not torture.  Putting a bamboo shoots under a person’s fingernails, or breaking his bones, is torture.

Second, from my limited discussions with “real” people, nobody (not even one) has had any problem at all with the Bush administration’s techniques.

Third, the media and Congress are like a dog on the bone about this so-called torture issue, but nobody’s publicizing  just what information was downloaded from the terrorists, and how many attacks were prevented and lives were saved.

Finally, in an unrelated article, Condaleeza  Rice has been  accused of verbally approving the so-called torture techniques.  Good for you, Ms. Rice, good for you!

Hal R. Dixon

Spokane

Well, well, well, Mr. Dixon in the letter published in the 26 April 2009 edition of the Spokesman-Review goes on record defining torture in accordance with bodily injury.  He doesn’t regard a man locked into a box with a bug as being torture.  Never mind that psychological torture can be defined as locking a man into a box with a bug—because the man is presumably afraid of bugs.  Psychological torture can in fact do as much damage to a human being as can torture that results in physical damage.  And just how reliable is such psychological torture in extracting useful information, IE attacks prevented and lives saved?  If Mr. Dixon doesn’t care to admit to psychological torture as effectively as real as any other type of torture to where it can be declared in opposition to the Geneva Conventions; then he has a much stricter definition of torture than the GW administration with whom and his buddies were never bothered by such techniques.  Considering that he must have talked to a very select few people whom he would have to know wouldn’t be bothered by the prior administration’s torture techniques.  Wonder what Mr. Dixon would say if he were a “terrorist suspect” locked in a box with an actual (but harmless) snake?  How many hours could he endure such a snake slithering all over him before he went crazy?  Esp. if he were told that it was deadly poisonous?  Only if you are not on the receiving end of torture would it be possible to never be bothered by it.  Hal Dixon, citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave and totally opposed to human rights.

On the other side of the coin, two editorials appearing on the same day; one from Kathleen Parker and the other from David Broder.  Parker takes note of those released memos and would undoubtedly be appalled by Dixon’s position on the matter.  She has no delusions about what constitutes torture and for that, I applaud her.  On the other hand, Broder produces a problematic editorial when it comes President Obama”s not exactly being prepared to prosecute those who “interrogated” terrorist suspects.  Let us put it bluntly, that I would not regard it as vengeance to hold to account the last administration for voiding the constitution or circumventing international treaties or even acting against known laws ; I would call it justice.  No, we should not play political games with this issue.  But in the interests of cleaning up America’s image before the world; yes, we should hold the prior administration to account.  That is one profound disagreement that I do have with the Obama administration.

But what can you say about David Broder anyway?  He has spent a lot of time excusing and downplaying the GW administration’s less than savory characteristics, I’d never be surprised that Broder heaves a guarded sigh of relief if Obama would prefer to move this nation forward than continually look back to the past.  But if we did not address the last 8 years and the failure of policy of the last administration, it would surely come back to haunt us.

Broder in particular seems to think that we the people don’t recall the post 9/11/2001 mindset.  Uh, excuse me; but some of us still do.  And some of us also recall in the year before the 2002 off year election that “fear of new terrorist threats, vague but credible” hit the TV screens once a week.  How quickly GW was prepared to politically manipulate terrorism to reduce the Dems to a quivering minority and achieve an electoral victory in his run for the White House in  2004.  But for how long can anyone manipulate terrorism to achieve political aims?  Only as long as you aren’t dealing with Hurricane Katrina then home foreclosures, failing banks, the credit card bubble and etc.  I remember the mindset of 2001 very well.  The American populace being stampeded into buying duct tape and plastic sheeting to make their homes “WMD proof.”  Which would not have worked at all.  Just as I recall that Islam in particular and Muslims in general were becoming the new fad for haters.  America had entered a truly ugly period indeed.

But, should a war on terrorism become a war against American citizens?  GW seemed to think so.  And circumvented laws to implicitly accuse Americans in the thousands over a several year period of desiring to contact Osama bin Laden by wiretapping their phones without a warrant.  Of course, that wouldn’t seem to bother Michael Ramirez much when his latest anti-Obama tirade declares that terrorists are being released and those who interrogated them would be prosecuted.  Where the people engaging in the discussion are on board the plane, “Politics One.”  Really?  Never mind that the facts are probably otherwise.  But then, Ramirez hasn’t always loved basing his “cartoons” on the facts.  I wonder if his phone ever got tapped?

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