10 February 2005

More outrage

I resisted posting on this subject because, honestly, my recent thoughts have been pretty depressing. However, if a subject is oppressive enough to rile the normally focused Scott Spiegelberg from his musical thoughts and post this pointed observation, then I too need to throw in my angry voice.

I am kinda tired of being angry, but this New Yorker article detailing the US government's severe abuses of human rights added to the anger and embarrassment. I swear now I understand those who threaten to leave the country. The NPR story Scott refers to, of a US citizen being held in a Saudi prison, is similar to the New Yorker story of a citizen being held in a Syrian prison. In either place, as is well-known to the US agents who sent them there, human rights laws against torture are not observed:

The pain was so unbearable, he said, that “you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother.”

[H]e was driven to Syria, where interrogators, after a day of threats, “just began beating on me.” They whipped his hands repeatedly with two-inch-thick electrical cables, and kept him in a windowless underground cell that he likened to a grave. “Not even animals could withstand it,” he said. Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up,” he said. “You become like an animal.”

A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges...

Under a government program called "extraordinary rendition," suspects are extradited to countries less strict in protecting suspects' rights or lives. Bush and Gonzales want this power and want never to be questioned. As far as I'm concered every asshole who ignorantly voted for Bush needs to live a few weeks as those torture victims did. Or maybe a $300 tax rebate check is a fair value trade for these rights. We as a country should be embarrassed.

It's been bothering me the carefree manner that agents on the show 24 have been detaining and torturing people without remorse, all the while using the same excuses that Bush makes. The show was never subtle, but the unabashed mimic of one of our country's current shames--without realistic moral comment--is a little unsettling. I've long read that torture is actually a less effective means of gathering information. From the article:

Perhaps surprisingly, the fiercest internal resistance to this thinking has come from people who have been directly involved in interrogation, including veteran F.B.I. and C.I.A. agents. Their concerns are as much practical as ideological. Years of experience in interrogation have led them to doubt the effectiveness of physical coercion as a means of extracting reliable information. They also warn that the Bush Administration, having taken so many prisoners outside the realm of the law, may not be able to bring them back in.
[ posted by sstrader on 10 February 2005 at 6:38:11 PM in Politics ]