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Monday, April 20, 2009

More on torture, II

This is not my favorite subject, but I feel that it should be aired. The Obama administration, under pressure under the Freedom of Information Act, released memos from the previous administration, describing what procedures that government operatives could use, in examining prisoners.

If you want to read those memos, here they are.

The Washington Post has an article on these memos, and what they authorized, with reactions from both critics and supporters.

CNN reports that a former CIA Chief has said that these memos should not have been released, but that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who served in the military justice system, says that the techniques they describe should never have been allowed in the first place.

I saw G. Gordon Liddy, in a discussion on CNN. Liddy said that waterboarding (see in-depth Wikipedia article) wasn't torture, because his son had been waterboarded as part of his Navy training, and he hadn't broken under such torture. Well, there was one crucial difference. Young Liddy knew that he was being trained, and that those training him would not kill him. Enemy prisoners don't know any such thing.

The US Senate Armed Services Committee, which, of course, has members of both parties, agreed unanimously that the US had, indeed, carried out torture, and that such techniques do not serve a useful purpose.

It is also possible that we turned over some prisoners to other countries, where legal restrictions are even less than ours have been. I'm not sure of that.

A person under torture is likely to admit to anything, true or false, that will end the torture, so testimony obtained under torture is unreliable. Torturing others is an invitation to other countries to torture US citizens, and a recruiting tool for the enemies of our country. Let's stop it altogether.

Here is a post on Christianity and torture.

Thanks for reading.

* * * * *

On April 20, 2009, at 10:54 EST, I discovered an article in the Christian Science Monitor, which reports that waterboarding was used many times on two prisoners. This indicates, perhaps, that it isn't so likely to be torture, or, maybe, on the contrary, that the CIA overstepped its own guidelines, given in the memos above. It also indicates that the technique must not have been very effective.


Heath said...

Appreciate both your posts on this subject. It doesn't make sense to try to prevent evil by doing something evil ourselves. Some would say that "American lives were saved" but what does it profit us to gain everything but lose our souls. Rob Bell's book, "God wants to save Christians", gave me lots of food for thought on the idea of American Christianity. I think some(me) are slow to speak against torture because it may seem unpatriotic to some. Sometimes, it seems we are more loyal to the flag than to the cross. Bottom line: Jesus knows torture and I'm pretty sure He's against it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. There have been articles and books written on how unreliable torture is and how much better the alternative methods are when obtaining information. I don't agree with Obama on everything, but he is slowly gaining my respect on certain issues.

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, gentlemen.

". . . we are more loyal to the flag than to the cross." How unfortunately true. (Or, to Fox News, or Rush Limbaugh, or, maybe to Dennis Kucinich or the ACLU, all of which have part of the truth, but none of whom have close to the whole truth.)

For what it's worth, I added a paragraph, based on a new source, after you commented. I don't think it changes much.