Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A terrible thought...

What is torture?

When you think of torture, you think of someone causing suffering to force a prisoner to talk, right? And Bush claims the US does not torture. And some of the interrogation methods used don't sound too bad, when read in a comfortable chair in your living room.

But here's a question for you. A prisoner in US custody might be forced to stand for a long time, hoping to soften him or her up. How is that enforced? Do they sternly say "don't sit down!"

I doubt it. I imagine they do whatever they need to do to force the prisoner to remain standing. But if they beat the prisoner, it's not to make the prisoner talk; heavens no! It's just to enforce obedience. Prison discipline, you know. Guards have to maintain discipline or it'll put them in danger.

It'd be awfully interesting to find out the answers to these questions. Bush could have the military essentially beating "confessions" out of prisoners, and still be able to claim that it's not torture, because the suffering is not directly intended to make the prisoner talk. (The scare quotes around "confession" there are because torture will get a prisoner to say whatever it takes to get torture to stop. It could be a legitimate confession. It could also be a false confession.)

Oh, did I hear some rightwinger claim that I hope Bush is torturing prisoners? That I'm celebrating prisoner mistreatment? I've seen rightwingers use that tactic before, so, for the record, no. I want the answers to the questions, so I'll know the truth. This country needs to know the truth, and deserves to know the truth.

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