Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On Torture

While touring nations south of the Equator, President Bush has had to face some big questions that the U.S. media has left by the wayside, most notably about reports of torture and secret prisons and recent actions in the War on Terror.

While the President fielded such questions, he defended U.S. Policy with the comment "
There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law. We do not torture." My comment is this - when has the U.S. NOT had enemies that lurk and plot against us???

Andrew Sullivan has some probing questions too:

The president's only defense against being a liar is that he is defining "torture" in such a way that no other reasonable person on the planet, apart from Bush's own torture apologists (and they are now down to one who will say so publicly), would agree. The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is "torture"? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?"

You can also hear an in-depth inverview with General Janet Karpinski, who was removed from her duties at Abu-Ghraib prison, here.

UPDATE: Sen. Frist thinks maybe there should be an investigation into how the non-confirmed report of secret prisons got released in the first place.

UPDATE 2 : Sen. Frist might want to recall the 50-plus times the Senate has gone into a closed session, including the 6 times it happened regarding former President Clinton. And there's the fact that the Frist WhineBlog won't let non-supporters comment.


  1. Anonymous2:52 PM

    How interesting that we again have a president caught up in trying to define a common word. To define what torture is, maybe we should first define the word 'is'. Maybe Bush's response should have been, "I did not have tortuous relationships with those detainees.". I am also dumbfounded by Frist's insistence that we need to investigate the leaks about the secret prisons, but it is apparently okay to leak information about one of our CIA field agents. More doubletalk and spin from the kings of the spin factory. They may not have learned the lessons of the Vietnam Conflict, but they certainly applied themselves to the lessons of the Third Reich's propagandists. I still find it extremely odd that many Americans think it is allright to give up some of our freedoms in order to secure our freedom from those who would take it away. We lose freedom either way. Of course, if I were a rich oil man none of my freedoms would be quashed.
    I am now scared of my country and it's future. It is time to take back our government. (and this from someone without a single firearm adn no compound)

  2. JD - you got that right!

    How can Sen. Frist and Rep. Hastert have any priority in mind other than protecting the President when they ignore the White House leaks and obstruction over the outing of a CIA agent and get all indignant that a newspaper report about secret prisons was released?

    Sen. Frist does NOT represent our state in any fashion. He does work to make sure the President's actions are protected and insulated from oversight.

    He has abandoned his duties as an elected representative of Tennessee.

  3. Maybe if he can go by the 'no sex' clinton definition, he can go w/ the no torture definition...
    we all know that what goes on in cuba is really bad stuff and in iraq and lord knows where else.. we have us a bad bad man in power and the scary thing is that he is just the Puppet,, he is too stupid to be anything other than the puppet!

  4. Great post! And it's interesting how defining a word can get so problematic.

  5. Anonymous10:16 AM

    I think maybe the word "sadism" needs to be interjected here. I know it is not politically correct since Al Gore used it to describe the actions of the prison guards but it fits. The infliciton of pain the humiliation of the detainees is outside the bounds of gaining information.

    The political implications of the use of torture are enormous and undermine the goal of reducing terror. Nevermind it proves a degenerate element exists in the defense beauacracy.

  6. I'll have more on this whole issue in the next day or so.
    Thanks so much for your comments.

    If the U.S. abandons it's reputation as a leadership as a standard bearer for Human Rights, we have lost our standing in the world.