Saturday, May 30, 2009


Last night on PBS, Bill Moyers Journal featured excerpts from Torturing Democracy, a film from producer Sherry Jones, that takes a close look at various forms of torture and cruel punishment meted out by the U.S. military and by the CIA.

We saw depictions of prisoners being shackled to the ceiling or to the floor, being blasted by non-stop high decibel music, being deprived of sleep for days, being held in complete darkness for months at a time, being stuffed into small containers and/or cages. And all of this inhumane treatment was over and above being subject to the trial by water, where water is poured into one's mouth and nose, causing the fear and sensation of drowning.

When I was watching the program, it was hard to reconcile that these methods of torture were American methods of interrogating prisoners, many of whom were ordinary sheepherders and farmers, picked up in Afghanistan and sold to the Americans. Yet it was Bush himself who signed off on these cruel and harsh methods, and it was Dick Cheney who followed up and made sure that the military and the CIA were enforcing them.

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