Friday, December 14, 2007
  Insight From One Who Knows
This was originally posted here in October of 2006. In light of recent comments on my waterboarding post it's obviously time to post it again.

"Some believe that certain controversial interrogation techniques are acceptable. But after nine years in the Soviet Gulag, and 400 days in punishment cells, I know that sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, and enforced hunger are forms of torture.

"Maintaining our principles in the face of terror is sometimes dangerous. Abandoning those principles would be even more dangerous.

"Still, I am deeply concerned that some of those who insist that America not cede the moral high ground do not recognize that America stands on the moral high ground.

"Those who would use abuses at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay to accuse America of being no different than the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or Sadaam's regime have lost all sense of moral clarity.

"America is different because your citizens can protest without going to prison. America is different because your courts can defend rights and your press can expose injustice. America is different because your Congress can hold hearings and because your people can hold your leaders accountable. America is different because America is free.

"In standing up against torture, I hope that all Americans will remember the profound moral divide that separates the free world from the world of fear and work to advance abroad the very principles you so rightly cherish at home."

- Natan Sharansky, Soviet Jewish dissident and anti-Communist, human rights activist and author of "Fear No Evil"
Guantanamo Bay?

There has been no abuses at Guantanamo Bay.

I hate Michael Moore but he is right when he talks about the high quality of health care that the terrorists get at Guantanamo Bay.
No abuse?

"On several occasions witnesses saw detainees in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to floor with no chair/food/water; most urinated or defecated on selves and were left there 18, 24 hours or more.

"A detainee was subjected to a lap dance by a topless female guard.

"A detainee was "baptised" by a guard dressed as a priest.

"Female guards wiping "menstrual blood" on detainees and taunting them.

"Female guards stripping in front of detainees.

"Guards beating injured detainees and detainees who'd had surgery."

These are only a few incidents from FBI memos and other testimony from US personnel.
Guantanamo Bay. I was talking about Guantanamo Bay not Abu Ghraib.

And the situation at Abu Ghraib has been fixed and the soldiers involved punished.

Still I didn't see what was so bad about it. Some people pay two hundred dollars or even more for such an experience.

Worse things probably went on at the Folsom Street Fair.

And this did happen in the section of Abu Ghraib where they held the worst of the worst prisoners.
Sir, the examples I cited took place at Guantanamo, not at Abu Ghraib.

See this article for just one example of what I'm referring to.

You don't see "what was so bad" about what took place at Abu Ghraib? Have you read Maj. Gen. Taguba's report on the abuse of prisoners by the 800th MP Brigade at the Abu Ghraib?

These are just a few of the worst examples:
-Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees;jumping on their naked feet;
-Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
-Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
-Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
-Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female Soldier pose for a
-A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
(That is rape, sir!)
-Using unmuzzled military working dogs ... biting and severely injuring a detainee;
-Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.

The difference for those people you claim would "pay... for such an experience" (I assume you refer to the deviant sexual abuse and not the beatings or dog bites.) is that they would do so willingly. The prisoners at Abu Ghraib were subjected to this abuse against their will. Would you think it was acceptable for another person to violate your moral and religious convictions simply because they were powerful and ruthless enough to do so? And regardless of what you may think of those prisoners there are acceptable standards of behavior toward prisoners.

There are two offenses the soldiers at Abu Ghraib committed. First, they violated the basic human rights of their prisoners. They violated the trust our nation placed in them to behave with decency and honor.

Second, they dishonored not only themselves, but the entire US military and our whole country. They destroyed the character and moral standing of our entire nation. The did untold damage to our efforts, not only in Irag, but throughout the entire world. They gave unlimited propaganda fuel to our enemies.

And you call that "not so bad"? Wake up, sir!
Would you think it was acceptable for another person to violate your moral and religious convictions simply because they were powerful and ruthless enough to do so?

Who do you think we had locked up at Abu Ghraib anyway?

They had done much worse than others than what happened to them. Again, sounds much like what occurred at the Folsom Street Fair.
If it was part of their interrogation at Abu Ghraib that would have been fine.

But it seems like in this case it was for the personal gratification of the soldiers and therefore was evil and the soldiers involved (if they weren't suffering trauma) should have been locked up for a long time. After all I wouldn't want such people back in my society.

It's all a difference between doing evil and being evil. Being unnecessarily cruel (unless under high stress) denotes a cruel character.

Being ruthless doesn't mean being unnecessarily so. There needs to be a military purpose behind the cruelty otherwise indeed it would be wrong.

Now if they found such acts increased the willingness of them to talk, yeah, I would be all for it.

As for Gitmo, yeah, I hear they have three meals a day, all made to their special religious qualification. They get great health care. They get their own Korans and there are detailed rules on how guards are supposed to handle these korans. If it wasn't for the threat of waterboarding (which you want to remove) and the incarnation it sounds like a great vacation. In fact for many of these terrorists they haven't had it better than this in their whole lives. A much higher standard of living than they have ever been exposed to.
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Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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