Friday, July 15, 2005

Torture Revisited

Andrew Sullivan has essential reading on the newly released Schmidt Report which "defines humane down," essentially characterizing the abuses that occurred at Gitmo as unfortunate but consistent with "humane treatment."
The kind of techniques used in Abu Ghraib - sexual humiliation, hooding, use of dogs, tying prisoners up in "stress positions", mandatory nudity, humiliating prisoners for their religious faith, even the famous Lynndie England leash - were all developed at Guantanamo Bay under the strictest of supervision. What we were told were just frat-guy, crazy techniques on the night shift - had been deployed by the best trained, most tightly controlled, most professional interrogation center we have. The Schmidt report argues that, while some of this was out of bounds, it was only because of some extra creativity, not because the techniques themselves were illicit, or unauthorized by Rumsfeld and Bush. Abu Ghraib is and was policy - just policy absorbed by ill-trained, unprofessional hoodlums. But those hoodlums didn't get their ideas from thin air. They got them from the Pentagon and the White House.

And Sullivan's conclusion:
What you call this is semantic and subjective. But we do know one thing. When president George Bush said that the vile practices recorded at Abu Ghraib did not represent America, he was right. They don't. They represent his administration and his policies. Of that there can no longer be any reasonable doubt.

-- Eric

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