Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On Torture as a Tactic

Over on Glenn Greenwald's blog, "Unclaimed Territory," he has this quotation:

"... there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods ... These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists." - George Orwell, The Freedom of the Press

One of the comments points out that June is Torture Awareness Month.

Research, experience, and reason tell you that torture DOES NOT WORK as a means of gaining information. And what other use is there for it? Every TV show on every network (wherever it happens) depict torture being effective in eliciting information. But out here in the real world, it doesn't work that way. If you torture someone to the point they're willing to confess to the Crucifixion, then how good is the information they give you?

Look at the experience of John McCain. The North Vietnamese tortured him to give them names. He gave them the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers. That worked till they realized they had been deceived. But he was able to hold out till what information he was able to give was no longer of any value.

The prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been there so long that any information they may have now would be totally worthless, even if they were able to determine these were enemy combatants. This hasn't been proven. In fact, it appears the Bush Administration is so scared of the truth that they won't try hard to find out whether these are true enemies, or just some unlucky souls turned in for the bounty. Think about it. If they were offering a bounty of some fabulous sum to turn in enemies in your midst, how many people do you know who would turn in random names just to get the money? This is what happened in Afghanistan, and so innocent adults and children wound up in captivity at Gitmo.

No contact with family, no contact with the outside world, no recourse to legal counsel, no hearings before military or other tribunals showing charges against them. Is it any wonder suicides took place last week? I won't say this was why or that the Pentagon's spin is wrong, but I do know how I tend to feel.

Anyway, back to the point: If you believe the Administration is justified in using any means necessary or convenient to "protect" us from "terrorists," if you are so cowardly and afraid of asserting yourself as a strong American that you give all your liberty over to the Bushites, then just let me ask you one question. Would you feel as comfortable giving the same power to a President Hillary?


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