Torture Report Shows We Are Unjust and Creepy

We Tortured Some Folks - This Modern WorldThe torture report executive summary (pdf) is out, and it makes me something more than depressed. What’s wrong with us? Can’t we even be evil without being creepy? I read in International Business Times, CIA Torture Report: “Rectal Feeding” Pasta, Hummus and Nuts to Detainees Revealed. Who thinks these kinds of things up? This is the kind of stuff that comes out of the mind of a psychopath, and I mean that literally. The officials, of course, claimed that it was all for a good cause: to show the supposed interrogator’s “total control over the detainee.” That sounds a whole lot like a kind of psycho-sexual, sadomasochistic hoohah — done for the pleasure of the “interrogator” and for no other reason.

At USA Today, Paul Singer provided, 7 Key Facts About the Senate’s CIA Torture Report. It shows that the report itself is something of a whitewash. It claims that the supposed enhanced interrogation techniques “in some cases amounting to torture.” Some cases? Based upon other things in the report, it isn’t clear that there was effective enough oversight to say that torture was ever not used. The general idea during the Bush years was simply that if we did it, it wasn’t torture. Instead, it was “enhanced interrogation techniques!” George Orwell would have loved this stuff!

But despite the 499 page executive summary (of the still classified 6,200 page report) being in large part a whitewash, it is still damning. In addition to putting food up the rectums of detainees, they killed at least one detainee. And, of course, they operated black sites. I love this last part, because one of the worst acts of despotic regimes is how they just make people disappear so that their family and friends don’t know what has become of them. It isn’t surprising that the United States would do that (and still does). After all, we’ve supported countless regimes that did it. But it is disappointing.

One funny thing is what Obama said, “I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong, in the past.” That’s just what the father of a dysfunctional family says. “Can’t we just leave all the mental, physical, and sexual abuse where it belongs, in the past?” This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who.

And in the end, what does it all mean? The United States of America — my country — tortured people, even to death, and did it using some very creepy means that could only come out of the mind of a very disturbed person. But half the country won’t even believe it. Republicans Marco Rubio and Jim Risch are already claiming that it is a partisan report, despite the fact that the whole thing gives the Bush administration a complete pass. But the “America right or wrong” crowd will never actually admit that the country ever does anything wrong. You know, IOKIIA (It’s Okay if it’s America).

John KiriakouMeanwhile, the only person in the whole world to have been prosecuted in regard to this is John Kiriakou (see also links at the end of that article) — the man who told the media about it. Because we need to have priorities! Cramming pasta into the anuses of people in our custody may be wrong. Allowing them to die of hypothermia may be unfortunate. But alerting the American people about these crimes that are being done their names?! That’s an outrage! (FYI: Kiriakou is still in prison.)

And the la-hand of the Freeeeee!
And the hoooome, of thhhhhe, braaaave!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

7 thoughts on “Torture Report Shows We Are Unjust and Creepy

  1. You would think good cop/bad cop, or lying to suspects about what their associates have confessed to — all the usual ethically shady stuff — would be enough! Hell, you might even make a evil argument for torture on a deterrence basis (though I suspect it’s not a deterrent in the slightest and only increases anti-US feeling), if the CIA (or whatever evil alphabet agency) ever let anyone go. They often don’t. This whole thing is an unholy mess.

    Remember the guy who pulled off the first, failed WTC bombing in 1996? Well, he was tried (in criminal court), convicted, and stuck in jail without a chance to martyr himself. Now that’s a deterrent to religious crazies, and a good way of getting them to rat on each other for reduced jail time.

    Obama deserves blame for not stopping any of this, and the murderous drone program, but I wonder who really started it. Of course Cheney/Rumsfeld gave the go-ahead, but there must have been some faction in the military or espionage agencies that had really wanted, for a while, to turn “terrorism” into this extra-legal nightmare. For Lord knows whatever reason. I suppose if things are better 25 years from now someone will write a book about it.

    • My understanding is that the FBI had good success with rapport building. I think the whole thing was about being “hard” and “tough” — the Tom Clancy Combat Concepts Just as for liberals, where not torturing is about how we see ourselves, for conservatives doing torture is about how they see themselves: as tough guys who do what must be done. It doesn’t matter in the least that what they are doing is useless or even counterproductive.

      And then, of course, there are the people with big sexual hangups. And we know how much of that there is among conservatives. It’s all despicable. And Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and more should all be rotting in a prison somewhere.

      • Probably how it panned out. The extremist sickos started it, and then the moderates who came in with Obama couldn’t stop it for fear of being labeled “soft on terror.” Or losing the military altogether, something any Democratic president is always in danger of.

        I like the idea of those guys in jail. Never happen, not in this lifetime, but I picture them breaking rocks in the hot sun with Sam Cooke singing “that’s the sound of the men working on the Cheney gang” . . .

        • Well, the torture had been stopped by that point supposedly. But I certainly think that Obama’s drone program and many other policies are based upon the fear of seeming weak. The irony, of course, is that all this chest thumping is proof of weakness on all sides. Strong men don’t worry that people will call them pussies. Pussies worry.

          • Not too far a distance from what you’ve been writing (very well!) about many cops being cowardly. Good bar bouncers don’t brag about the fights they won (they’re hired because they’re huge and can win almost any fight); they brag about the fights they stopped from happening.

            Too bad, really, that we don’t have people in positions like cops who are just very well-trained in dealing with things where they’re actually useful, like calming things down in domestic violence situations, and don’t feel the need to prove how studly they are. (My late mom was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for 19 years, and deplored what she called the “Die Hard mentality.”) A lot of this is institutional, though. How many people at State or in the CIA got asked to leave because their experience led them to report that the Mega Badass approach was exactly the wrong take to deal with terrorism?

            Oh, well, more stuff needs changing than I can process any more tonight!

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