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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Torturous Debate

By 3rd Way

Folkbum alumn Capper links to the widely distributed video of talk show host and former torture apologist Mancow experiencing waterboarding. After going through with it he joined the growing group of warterboardees that confirm the procedure is indeed torture.

John Cole points out that being waterboarded in a controlled situation doesn't really compare to what was done to terrorist suspects.

Not to diminish Mancow’s experience, but if he thought that was torture, think what the real deal must be like. You are snatched out of nowhere, flown across the world, kept awake for days on end in a freezing room with little food, woken every time you fall asleep on your metal bed, thrown against the wall with that lovely procedure known as collaring, slapped, had dogs threatening you, yelled at and beaten, and so on and so forth. That goes on for a couple weeks to soften you up, then you are dragged by multiple burly men and waterboarded repeatedly. You have no dead man’s switch like Hitchens did, you have no “safe” word to stop the process, there are no cameras and friends there to make sure you are alright. These people have been abusing you non-stop for days or weeks, for all you know this is when they finally kill you.

At the end he points out the obvious.

Of course it is torture. I’m sick and tired of having this stupid damned debate.

The authorizers of torture need to be prosecuted. But I understand there is a sound legal argument that waterboarding doesn't fit a definition of torture Bush administration used to justify the practice, and therefore is not a slam dunk case. I don't buy the argument that the enhanced interrogation techniques used don't have lasting effects. According to Ellen Gerrity of Duke University the psychological effects of torture can often be worse than the physical effects.

"The psychological symptoms can often be worse in the sense that person can never recover from that, and may in the end, be in such despair and pain that they take their own lives, especially if they don't have treatment or support around them," she said.

Experts say torture victims can develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and symptoms such as social withdrawal, confusion and sleep problems.

Even if you don't think what the Bush administration authorized amounts to torture you should still be outraged that the individuals that committed crimes against our country will be never be prosecuted because the maltreatment they received during interrogation made the evidence against them inadmissible. There is no denying what was done to detainees amounts to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment". Something needs to be done to assure future governments aren't tempted to go down the same dark path we just traveled. It wouldn't be hard to prove that the maltreatment detainees has prevented their prosecution. If we aren't going to prosecuted torturers for torturing we should at least prosecute them for tampering with witnesses.

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