Saturday, November 22, 2008


There are those in the Bush administration, such as Dana Perino as well as George Bush himself, who insist that the U.S. does not "torture." Harsh interrogation techniques, yes, torture no.

The most shocking thing is that it seems that the Republican faithful eat this up and willingly transmit this canard. You would think that Republicans could see through the charade and that they all would condemn these harsh interrogation techniques for what they are. But no, Republicans stand solidly behind Bush and Cheney in approving torture as an approved policy.

Andrew Sullivan has a must read post on his blog The Daily Dish for The Atlantic Monthly:

"This is the defining line of torture: not some arbitrary comic book technique, but a psychological and physical fact: pushing another human being to the point where choice becomes unavailable to him or her. You can do this in any number of ways; it can take three seconds of electrocution or it can take two months of sleep deprivation, hypothermia and darkness. But the line it eventually crosses is the same line. Throughout human history, human beings have known what that line is, and the West was constructed on a disavowal of ever crossing it again. Why? Because a society that endorses torture commits itself not to limiting, but to extinguishing human freedom. And a protection of human freedom in its most minimal form is what our entire civilization is premised on."

Sullivan goes on to describe some of the Bush/Cheney et al. approved techniques:

"Even the word "torture" can be too vague and abstract a term. So let us state in plain English how Bush, Cheney, Tenet, et al. actually got information. They did it by subjecting prisoners to repeated drowning, or freezing, or heating, or sadistically long sleeplessness, or shackling or crucifying them until the pain could be borne no longer, or beating them until they pleaded for mercy, or threatening to kill or torture their children or wife or parents. Or all of the above in combination, in isolation, and with no surety of ever seeing the light of day again, with no right to meaningful due process of any kind, sometimes sealed off from light and sound for months at a time, or bombarded with indescribable noise day and night in cells fro which there was no escape ever. This is what "under coercive conditions" actually means. It drove many of the victims into become mumbling, shaking, insane shells of human beings; it killed dozens; it drove others still to hunger strikes to try to kill themselves; and it terrified and scarred and "broke" the souls of many, many others."

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