Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Torture Presidency

George W. Bush's years in the White House has been called "the torture presidency."  "To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush's Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity" (NY Times, Sunday, April 19, 2009.)  Depravity and sadism, according to the Times, "played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney."

Donald Rumsfeld, after reading and approving, new interrogation guidelines that included forcing prisoners to stand for four hours, wrote: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day.  Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales; lawyers, John Yoo, Steven Bradbury, Jay Bybee: investigate them!  And if there is sufficient evidence, prosecute them for violating the laws against torturing prisoners.  

"Depravity" is a word I would expect to hear from the Christian right, supporters of Bush, but they have been silent.


  1. Yes, all that is torture. It is plain crazy to assert otherwise. Aside from the humanity and morality of the matter, the world seems divided as to wether it works and that information not available by any other means can be learned from torture and that in the current instance "American lives were saved' and real information unavailable by any other means resulted. McCain, whose celebrity comes from having been tortured, says no. In my view, rather than the punishment of totrurers and their bosses, the value of a thorough and non-ideological investigation may come to some conclusions on this. It will take some courage to look at the results and go forward based on facts. I know of no study on this subject that is based on the kinds of facts that are available to congress. It could happen and be conclusive.

    This above is the rational side of the subject. But the horrible thing is that there is a dark side of the psyche that gets off on the whole idea and loves the details. It is a huge part of the entertainment industry.

  2. Yes, the facts. It would be valuable to have them. Torture is debasing. Even if torture results in important information, is it still right to torture?

  3. I can't see how torture results in truth, all of us would confess to almost anything were we tortured like these detainees.

  4. A friend said, 'If there was a ticking bomb, and you knew your prisoner had the information to stop it, wouldn't torture be justified?' That's the example that's usually given. But how likely would it be for such a thing to happen? Nearly impossible, I think. I still believe that torture is never justified.