Torture is Not an American Value

Conservatives are freaking out about the Senate torture report, and nowhere are they freaking out more than on Fox So-Called News. Host Andrea Tantaros, for example, went on a crazy rant after hearing that the report was being released and repeated “America is awesome” over and over again.

You know, you’re right. Andrea. America is “awesome.” America is “awesome” because it was founded on liberal Enlightenment values that to this day are shared by most or all of its citizens, right, left, or anywhere in between. But there’s nothing “awesome” about torture, especially the kind of torture that the CIA was using on detainees during the Bush years.

I mean, have you even read the Senate’s torture report, Andrea? It’s terrifying. Some detainees were beaten and left to freeze to death in the cold. Others were forced to wear diapers or walk around naked in chains. And that’s not even the worst of it. Some detainees were also forced to undergo a painful and medically unnecessary process known as “rectal feeding.”

Here’s how the Senate’s torture report describes the rectal feeding of one detainee named Majid Khan:

"Majid Khan was then subject to involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration, which included two bottles of Ensure. Later that same day, Majid Khan's "lunch tray," consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was "pureed" and rectally infused."

That is disgusting, and so fundamentally at odds with our founding values it’s just astonishing.

After the Battle of Trenton in 1776, General George Washington went out of his way to stop his soldiers from torturing their Hessian mercenary prisoners. His order banning the mistreatment of prisoners is still relevant today. It reads,

“Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands.”

That’s what America should stand for, but thanks to the Bush administration, our moral standing has been badly compromised. Which is exactly why releasing the torture report - or at least the executive summary of that report - was the right thing for the Senate Intelligence Committee to do.

The talking point among Republicans now is that the Committee has "hurt America’s image abroad" by publicizing its findings about the CIA’s torture program. But that’s just not true. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of the truth.

Our image abroad was already bad because it’s common knowledge that we tortured people. All the Senate Intelligence Committee did by releasing its torture report was admit that what we did was wrong and, in a really graphic way, make it clear that torturing people is at odds with who we are as Americans. And contrary to what you might hear over on Fox So-Called News, coming clean about your mistakes and saying they conflict with your values is a great way to increase your standing in the world.

Just look at South Africa. During apartheid, it was a pariah state. But after apartheid ended and the new multiracial government held a truth and reconciliation commission to look into the crimes of the old regime, South Africa was welcomed back into the world community with open arms.

The truth is that the people who say they’re worried about how the Senate torture report will ruin America’s reputation abroad are really just worried about how that report will ruin the reputations of Bush, Cheney and the other war criminals who got us into this mess.

So whenever you hear one of those fools say, “We’re ruining America’s reputation by coming clean about torture,” translate that in your brain to “We’re ruining Bush and Cheney’s reputation by coming clean about their torture programs.”

This whole discussion really just comes down to one simple question: Are we going to stand behind American values or stand behind the Bush administration? Either American values are right and George W. Bush was wrong, or American values are wrong and George W. Bush was right. You can’t have both.

You have to pick one, and by releasing its torture report, the Senate Intelligence Committee picked American values. That’s a big step in the right direction.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 32 weeks ago

We are a country run by hypocrites, cowards, paranoid schizophrenics, thieves, murderers, and Hitler-wanna-be's.


What are conservatives trying to hide?!?

ScottFromOz 9 years 32 weeks ago

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives, is that conservatives equate aggression with strength. Aggression is the weak man's imitation of strength. The conservatives are fear driven by nature, and they rightly fear the condemnation and fallout that would result from widespread recognition of their use of aggression. This is why they become shrill and frantic when they sense exposure.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 32 weeks ago

Not surprising that the Republicans feel that the "enhanced interrogation" methods were effective. After all, when you create your own definition of torture then of course you can easily define the results of that torture as effective.

I don't see why the Right is so upset with the release of this report. If their methods were so effective and not torture as they claim, then you would think they would be proud of the actions they took and would want everyone to know about it. But, instead they seem to believe that the public knowing about it is some how embarrassing and makes them look like sadistic monsters. Why are they getting so upset about the public knowing who they really are if they fare so convinced that they are right.

glen'synapse's picture
glen'synapse 9 years 32 weeks ago

The only thing worse than the act of torture is denying it when caught red handed. "Red" in this case I assume comes from some reference to the red of blood on one's hands as proof that cannot be denied. I'm just guessing, but if not correct, it sure fits the circumstance. I'll let someone else look it up. I'm on a "pad" where actually doing real computing is a hassle.

Danny56's picture
Danny56 9 years 32 weeks ago

Good The Senate intelligence Committee Released The Report And The Aftermath in My Opinion Will Be Positive!

stopgap's picture
stopgap 9 years 32 weeks ago

Probably the most despicable part of the Fox News, Andrea Tantros clip that Thom linked to, was the statement by her and the guy seated in the middle, that, "I don't want to know". Wasn't' that the attitude of the German people when Hitler was persecuting the jews.

How disgusting it is to see these horrible people that live in the lap of luxury collecting their big pay check from FOX, paid to flap their mouths about "awesome America" and supporting the killing of thousands of our troops by sending them into an unnecessary war, and the killing and torture of the people of the middle east. All perfectly fine with them but "I don't want to know" about it.

FOX News should change its motto from "Fair And Balanced" to "I Don't Want To Know!!"

Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 32 weeks ago

No glen I think getting your head chopped off on video for your children to watch on you tube is worse then denying torture.

cmrced's picture
cmrced 9 years 32 weeks ago

I believe Bush et al are war criminals, but pardoning them would be a mistake for at least 2 reasons:

  1. It's branding someone a crimal with no due process (no charge, no trial, no impartial sentencing), which is itself a violation of one of our most fundamental values. Gerald Ford was wrong to short circuit the justice system and pardon Nixon, and Obama would be wrong to pardon Bush et al...and
  2. Pardoning them would reinforce a terrible precedent which is also ripe for abuse. A subsequent president could easily retaliate and "pardon" Obama for "covering up Benghazi" or "giving amnesty to the dreamers" or any other trumped up charge they could come up with.

Eric Holder should do his sworn duty as chief law enforcement officer and appoint a special prosecutor/independent counsel (which BTW does not require Congressional approval) and let the impartial, non-partisan chips fall where they may, while Obama stays at arms length and focuses on the business of being president. Anyone who objects to this process will have to stand up in front of the American People and the whole world and explain why Bush and his accomplices are above the law, and why America should be allowed to sweep this travesty under the historical rug. I for one would love to see them try.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 9 years 32 weeks ago

Torture is not a partisian issue. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are against torturing prisoners. Only the Klu Klux Klan and the Nazi Party are in favor of torture. President George W. Bush ordered his administration to torture captured prisoners, this was a violation of United States laws and International laws. America does not stand with George W. Bush when he order the torture of detainees. The recently released executive summary of the report shows that the CIA lied to Congress, lied to the president, and lied to the public about how it treated detainees. The methods used are consistent with any definition of what comprises torture. Any person who says this is not torture would object to such behavior if they or their loved one was the person being treated that way. There is nothing awesome about the way George W. Bush behaved, instead it was a war crime. George W. Bush and Richard Cheney should be held to trial on their actions.

agelbert's picture
agelbert 9 years 32 weeks ago


HOW do you expect ANYTHING to change in this Fascist Police State when you NEVER discuss the FACT that we DO NOT have a Representative Republic? If we had the representation granted voting citizens by our Contitution, we would have over SIX THOUSAND representatives in the House! And YEAH, we can do that with modern technology EASILY!

Fascism isn't coming to the USA; it is HERE!

There is no way in hell that we are going to get our government to do what we-the-people want UNLESS we can have and elected Representative for every 30,000 to 60,000 citizens, PERIOD!

You are always quoting the founding fathers and our Constitution, yet you NEVER mention that our vote is worth ONE SIXTEENTH what it was worth in 1800. WHY NOT!!!?

THAT is the KEY reason the corporations OWN OUR GOVERNMENT! Don't tell me it is "impractical" to have an electronic congress where we-the-people tell our 7,000 Reps what we DEMAND in no uncertain terms. The Pentagon has secure connections all over the world. A Congress can do the same thing and meet ELECTRONICALLY while they STAY in their districts where we-the-people can keep them from getting bought and paid for.

You KNOW that! Yet you pooh pooh the idea of having 7,000 or so Representatives in the House of Representitives and one third as many senators. You IGNORE the CRUCIAL (for the preservation of democracy against oligarchic elite corruption) fact that it would be really hard for corporations to buy that many elected politicians.

As long as we DO NOT have appropriate representation in our government, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that torture, war profiteering, dirty energy welfare queen give aways called subsides and police state privacy violations, brutality and racist murders will stop.

Things are the way they ARE because the people in our government REPRESENT the WILL of the olgarchic predators that WANT IT that way, PERIOD!

If you are still reading (grin), here are the details:

The issue is FASCISM. Our "Jews" just happen to be African Americans and the poor of all colors. But the Evil in Fascism is ALWAYS a growth industry and those pretending they will not be eaten alive by this predatory profit over people and planet fascism are just plain Wishful Thinking COWARDS.

We are in the throws of Inverted totalitarianism. Chris Hedges explains that in detail. I think you are familiar with that but if you want to refresh your mind, just Google it and Chris Hedges.

And YEP, it IS a police state but it is CLOAKED with the Color of LAW (see definition of Color of Law) with all the trappings (pure theater) of a representative republic.

Around the year 1800, the power of a (white, land owner) American citizen's vote was reasonable (if all the adult citizens had been allowed to vote). At that time a NEW Rep could be added to a state if the Congressional district exceeded 60,000 population. In 1918-19 the COUNT of reps was UNCONSTITUTIONALLY frozen.

You'll never get a lawyer to fight that, either. The historical record is quite accurate as to the unconstitutionality of that legislation. You probably know all about how the unconstitutional income tax was pushed on us. But the BIG BETRAYAL was the frozen rep count. This assured a fascist takeover because corporations would get MORE influence while the individual voter would get less. At present your vote is worth one SIXTEENTH of what it was in the year 1800! Representative Republic, my ARSE!

And if some learned counsel would pound the table about the "progressive reform" of electing senators during the same period (early 20th century) so state legislators couldn't be bought by big wig money bags types, then tell them that it was a FICTION.

Why? because it was ACCOMPANIED by freezing the rep count! What's that got to do with it? Tell said learned counsel to look up the word "senate". The senate is NOT, and never was, a democratic, representative or otherwise, of the PEOPLE; it is a representative of the wealthy ELITE Powers That BE.

It is BALANCED (at least in theory) by the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Remember it has the SAME power as the House (except it isn't supposed to be able to INITIATE legislation - like it unconstitutionally DID in 2008 with the bailout!) with one third less members when this country got started.

As the number of reps got greater and greater from a population increase, the elite influence increased on a senate with less and less members in relation to the exploding population of the states. I.e. LESS DEMOCRACY in an already undemocraric senate - concentration of POWER in fewer hands!

In order for the proper balance to have been preserved with the, admittedly more democratic process of electing senators instead of having state legislators "elect" them, they HAD TO keep the same ratio of senators to representatives! They did not do that! They pulled a fascist one-two punch (one-two-three if you count the Federal Reserve ripping the power to print money away from the gooberment).

Keeping the, already pro-elite senate at two per state made it EASIER to BUY THEM. Freezing the house count did the same thing.

I wrote an article explaining all that several years ago. Here it is.

I'm talking about the sound bite of all sound bites, "No taxation without representation". We can all agree that representation is essential in a representative form of government, right?

Yes, we are a republic and the founding fathers abhorred pure democracy. But they did write into the Constitution that for every 30,000 citizens, NO MORE THAN ONE representative would be elected to the House (but AT LEAST ONE per state). You can see this is dated stuff. The constitution needs to be CLARIFIED to reflect modern technology.

The constitutional clarification/amendment would be:

1) AT LEAST ONE representative for every 31,000 citizens.

2) The 'AT LEAST ONE representative per state' can be dropped because it is ridiculous and outdated to even consider a state with less than 30,000 citizens.

The corporatocracy would fight this tooth and nail because this amendment would make our House of Representatives a democratic organization for the first time EVER (in 1787 Native Americans, women and African Americans were excluded - In 1911 when they UNconstitutionally froze the rep count at 436, Native Americans, women and most African Americans could not vote).

Since 1911 we have been in a time warp where corporate power grew as our population grew. The fix was IN.

Now do the math. Assuming 2/3 of the population can vote, that means 200,000,000 votes. If you get one rep for every 31,000 voters, the House gets 6451 representatives.

Consider, for a moment, how your vote has been watered down through the years. The 65 reps back in 1787 represented about 2 million white men. In 1911 the 337 or so that voted to freeze the upper bound of the number at 436 represented 90 million mostly white men - NO WOMEN.

Now DAMNIT, PEOPLE! That was one of the most corrupt congresses we have ever had! That was THE Rockefeller congress! That was the Railroad baron congress! That was the congress that, in 1913, brought the federal reserve crooks into being!

We went from one rep for every 30,000 to 60,000 white men in 1787 to one rep for every 500,000 voters in 2010. Think about that. YOU and 15 other voters have the same power that ONE WHITE MAN had in 1787! And with the Citizens United Supreme treason, you are ACTUALLY getting one rep for every (assuming 10,000 public and private large corporation pacs) 22 rich corporations. THIS IS THE REALITY.

There is no valid argument for limiting the number of reps. NONE.

We want a representative republic. We don't have one. This is not a 'progressive' issue. This is about DEMOCRACY!

I wish to add that every single issue of importance to the people in the USA which has been ignored, disdained, ridiculed or trashed by the media and/or the government owes its' continued repression to our lack of representation in congress.

The single argument against it is very old. I cede the floor to Patrick Henry:

"But we are told that we need not fear; because those in power, being our representatives, will not abuse the powers we put in their hands. I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers.

I imagine, sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny. Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism!

Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition; and those nations who have gone in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom."

I imagine that Patrick Henry, who is famously quoted as saying he smelled a rat in Philadelphia (the constitutional convention), would have preferred one elected representative for much fewer voters than 30,000. He wanted to keep a sharp eye on the reps way back when. He would probably be outraged and leading a revolution today.

Today we have the technology for an electronic congress. This congress would not be the pampered tools for corporations we have now. Their numbers would make OUR voices stronger than corporate voices. They would be more approachable and more willing to listen to us with the 31,000 voters per district. We would HAVE A VOICE!

Our reps would rule for us.

Patrick Henry's rat was eaten by a Rockefeller T-Rex. We need to kill this dinosaur. The damned thing will kill us all and then start on it's own tail.

"People talk sometimes of a bestial cruelty, but that's a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel. The tiger only tears and gnaws, that's all he can do. He would never think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

"I think the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

"If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral; everything would be lawful, even cannibalism."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values… when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967

The wheels of "fascist progress" were turning fast and furious in those first 20 years of the 20th century. But we had Bernays to put lipstick on that fascist BOOT in our face. The media was instrumental in keeping the lipstick in place throughout the 20th century and this century (see 911 lock step dumb playing). The lipstick is coming off.


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 32 weeks ago

I give thumbs-up to Stopgap (post #3) for this succinct little passage: “How disgusting it is to see these horrible people that live in the lap of luxury collecting their big pay check from FOX, paid to flap their mouths about "awesome America" and supporting the killing of thousands of our troops by sending them into an unnecessary war, and the killing and torture of the people of the middle east.”

Very well said, Stopgap! That sums up my reasons for kicking the TV habit, and why the mere sight of FOX on anyone’s TV is gag-inducing for me. - AIW

RFord's picture
RFord 9 years 32 weeks ago

The idiots at Fox so called news are worried that releasing information about people in our government torturing captives that have been held indefinatly, without ever having a day in court, damaging the reputation of the USA? The USA already has a bad reputation all over the world. It's been common knowlage that the USA tortures prisoners that never have their day in court. It's known worldwide that the USA has been conducting drone strikes that kill innocent men women and children and sometimes miss the intended targets. Waving our flags and shouting "God Bless America, We're The Greatest Nation on Earth" may make us feel good about our country but it will do nothing about the way the people in the rest of the world see us. Many people in other countries see us as arrogant greedy bullies. Why? Because our policies allow us to sidestep human rights? Because our government panders to billionaires who worship money? Because we think we can go anywhere in the world and kill whoever we want to and don't care who gets in the way? We are becoming a pariah (outcast) state and soon the only countries that will want anything to do with us are the ones that we have manufacturing the goods we spend our money on. All of this can change but we have to find and elect the people who are willing to stand up and make the changes that will make us a better nation and better people. It's not often that a republican will publicly stand up against other republicans but John McCain did when he supported making public the documents about the USA's torture program. For this, I'm proud of John McCain.

Fanchon88's picture
Fanchon88 9 years 32 weeks ago

Too many words, agelbert!

Good stuff, Thom! Thoughtful people around the world will perceive that many ordinary Americans didn't know about this torture. I, for one, knew I didn't like Bush or Cheney; these new details are only further proof why. I am proud of my country that can be seen warts and all as we debate our values and insist in public that these values be lived and discussed and enforced. Yes, we are really ugly. Thank God, we are a work in progress. I think there is hope.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 32 weeks ago

I am an "ordinary" American and I knew Bush, Cheney, the CIA and their ilk were torturers, so it wasn't exactly secret. Maybe some of the gory details, but not the overall picture. I would be pleased as punch if every damn one of these cowards was subjected to the same torture techniques they inflicted on others.

"Rectal feeding"?! That's not feeding; the body isn't designed to absorb calories & nutrients through the wrong end. These guys are sick, sick, sick. - AIW

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 9 years 32 weeks ago

That's quite a think tank FOX put together to discuss the issues of the world.

Torture is the lowest form of terrorism, whether it's done while wearing a military uniform directed by a government or it's a militant driven by ideology. Terror is terror no matter how much jingoistic propaganda is mustered to support it.

Somebody that tortures or directs somebody to torture is a terrorist and there isn't a absolution of patriotic justification to absolve anybody from that kind of inhumanity

fbacher's picture
fbacher 9 years 32 weeks ago

The Christian response to turture by Rome was to be passive and not to respond in kind. Tens of thousands died, but their weak response gained them respect, amplified the evil of their torturers and brought them sympathy which eventually led to their victory. If the Christians had lowered themselves to the level of the Romans, they would have been squashed and forgotten.

Even if torture produces the desired results, in the long run it will corrupt, bring an avalanche of enemies and give aide and comfort to our enemies by giving them cover for their own evil actions.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 32 weeks ago

Well thank you Congress for providing the President clear evidence of War Crimes carried out by the previous administration. Will Obama NOW finally make good on his campaign promise to prosecute the Bush administration for War Crimes?

Come on, Barack! Do your job!

FuzzyBoo 9 years 32 weeks ago

IS THERE A SECRET PROGRAM TO "RE-EDUCATE" THE AMERICAN (AND WORLD) PUBLIC SO THAT THEY'LL ACCEPT FASCIST POLICE STATES? - Hi Tom, speaking of "RE-EDUCATION." Have you ever noticed that most TV CRIME SHOWS (especially on CBS) always show various "crime fighters" CASUALLY VIOLATING THE CIVIL RIGHTS of multiple suspects. The worst I've seen so far has been TOM SELLECK sneering at a suspect about them getting their "phone call" so that their "SLEAZY LAWYER" could protect their "CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS." This is happening way too often to be a coincidence. Thanks.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 32 weeks ago
Quote FuzzyBoo: Have you ever noticed that most TV CRIME SHOWS (especially on CBS) always show various "crime fighters" CASUALLY VIOLATING THE CIVIL RIGHTS of multiple suspects.

FuzzyBoo ~ I've noticed that ever since the early 70's. Every crime show on TV--and in the movies--has had that slant on Constitutional rights. Remember "Dirty Harry?"

Yes, I too do not think this is a coincidence; and, yes, I do think this is an intentional concerted effort at "Re-Education." Also, yes, I'd love to hear what Thom thinks about that.

agelbert's picture
agelbert 9 years 32 weeks ago


Here is the meat of the matter directed at Thom in general and everyone here in particular::

THAT is the KEY reason the corporations OWN OUR GOVERNMENT! Don't tell me it is "impractical" to have an electronic congress where we-the-people tell our 7,000 Reps what we DEMAND in no uncertain terms.

The Pentagon has secure connections all over the world. A Congress can do the same thing and meet ELECTRONICALLY while they STAY in their districts where we-the-people can keep them from getting bought and paid for.

You KNOW that! Yet you pooh pooh the idea of having 7,000 or so Representatives in the House of Representitives and one third as many senators.

You IGNORE the CRUCIAL (for the preservation of democracy against oligarchic elite corruption) fact that it would be really hard for corporations to buy that many elected politicians.

As long as we DO NOT have appropriate representation in our government, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that torture, war profiteering, dirty energy welfare queen give aways called subsides and police state privacy violations, brutality and racist murders will stop.

Things are the way they ARE because the people in our government REPRESENT the WILL of the olgarchic predators that WANT IT that way, PERIOD!

Suze O's picture
Suze O 9 years 32 weeks ago

I think if Obama decides to pardon these people, he should first read them the riot act - really stipulate that these are abominable criminals, (unAmerican - oh, wouldn't THAT rile the Repugnicans!), inhuman, etc, etc, and their actions, above all, are totally useless in getting real information. He should relate the actions of Washington and Lincoln in treating prisoners decently (Washington said it would show how a free people conduct themselves - superior to the rest), not to mention the military personnel in Gulf War 1 that saw Iraqis by the thousands scramble out of their foxholes (where they were stationed by Saddam Hussein) and enthusiastically surrender to our troops instead of killing them. Fair treatment would have brought in so many people willing to help us, even if they themselves were locked up for a while.

I wish a pardon would not be necessary. I wanted accusations, trials, and imprisonment for these criminals. Unfortunately, Obama cannot do such a thing because of the power these people have. Grandpoppy Bush was a Nazi collaborator, Poppy Bush was a longtime secret CIA criminal involved in all kinds of underhanded activities - and aside from that is suspected of having something to do with the JFK assassination. And Cheney himself undoubtedly has a Rolodex of assassins and people that can otherwise ruin his enemies. There is plenty of evidence that they are suspected of several nasty events when they have been threatened. Obama gets cursed for his failure to prosecute these war criminals, but he knows that if he does, he probably won't see his daughters grow up.

smccord2 9 years 32 weeks ago

This is a reply to "stopgap #6."

Yes! The "I don't want to know" theme is permeating our culture. Just watch us get a chance to vote on whether we want to know if there are GMO's in our food. We have been voting "NO!" every time. It is so hard to believe that so many people can be brainwashed by Monsanto's propaganda commercials into voting that they don't want to know! Now we don't want to know about how we tortured. Gee, things are so bad all around, let's just stick our heads in the sand.

TexasMarxist's picture
TexasMarxist 9 years 32 weeks ago

You know what I find especially troubling about the people who defend torture and even most of the people speaking against it? Many of the people U.S. shipped to Guantanamo to be tortured posed absolutely no threat to U.S. in the first place.

Let me give one specific example.

Dr. Hafizullah, an Aghan tribal elder with a long anti-Taliban track who had once been imprisoned and tortured by the Taliban for refusing to live by their social edicts. He was elected governor of Afghanistan's Zurmat province after 2001. Very popular and competent, but became a victim of Kabul politicking and was replaced by a Hamid Karzai funky.

Under this new administration crime soared, police robbed merchants and motorists. It got so bad that the government formed an emergency task force to be lead by Dr. Hafizullah, in order to crack down against growing anti government sentiment. Any one caught opposing Kabul would have his house burned down—a local tribal custom—and be fined nearly $50,000.

Hardly the actions of a Taliban supporter—yet that's how Hafizullah was branded. His criminal investigations began to embarass the powers that be. The final straw was when he found a get away car involved in a reported $3,000 theft of local shopkeepers sitting brazenly by the main police station, which was under the command of Abdullah Mujahed, a key American ally.

Hafzullah publicly humiliated this criminal police chief and forced him to repay the victims.

Abdullah Mujahed quickly avenged him by informing the Americans, falsely, that Hafizullah was a Taliban double agent. He was promptly shipped to Guantanamo.

There are many other Hafizullahs that I give examples of. Sorry I couldn't make my point a little more concisely. To better understand what I'm talking about please read Anand Gopal's "No Good Men Among The Living". Or at least look up his interview on "Democracy Now!".

Docten's picture
Docten 9 years 31 weeks ago

One aspect of this debate that is missing is that by torturing enemy combatants we lose the expectation that enemies in the future will surrender to American troops. The US has had a long history of having enemy combatants surrender to us, saving thousands of American lives. In the future, we will have to beat an enemy "to death", causing many more American casualties. Thanks Cheney.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 31 weeks ago

Excellent point, Docten.

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