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    what is it they find so loathsome about a flaccid sack of water, anyway..., 2007-11-05 23:43:32 | Main | what hollywood has taught us about the ticking time bomb scenario..., 2007-11-07 16:59:51

    this discussion is torture:

    Watching a bunch of thugs pander to "values voters" who care so much about "morality" and "restoring honor and dignity to the whitehouse" by bragging about how tough their methods of torture will be when they're in office during the first GOP debate has had me scratching my head. What argument is there to have? They're bragging about their dark age credentials, for fucks sake.

    I'm not sure I understand why the focus is on waterboarding rather than, say, keeping a naked prisoner isolated in a freezing cell, or any of the other myriad Nazi shit we have more or less labelled "Nazi shit". But in the interests of keeping up with the irrelevancies of the age you may wish to read "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts". We shouldn't be debating - there's no arguing an ape out of a position he was never reasoned into - we should be prosecuting.

    In United States v. Parker et al. (S.D., Tex., 1983) affirmed sub nom, United States v. Lee (5 Cir. 1984), a jury convicted a county Sheriff and several of his deputies for interrogating prisoners using [water boarding].

    There's an important section starting on page 28 regarding the American occupation of the Philippines that reads as a verbatim transcript of the present war, from the official denials down to the New York Times pretending to denounce the practice even as they defend its preconditions. Even down to the bullshit slaps on the wrist:

    Major Edwin Glenn and Lieutenant Edwin Hickman were tried for conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline by courts martial in Catlalogan, Samar in May, 1902 based upon infliction of the water cure. The defense was military necessity, and that it was justified by illegal conduct of the insurgents. Hickman was acquitted and Glenn suspended from command for one month and fined $50. In his review, the Army Judge Advocate recognized that the charges constituted “...resort to torture with a view to extort a confession.” He recommended disapproval because “...The United States can not afford to sanction the addition of torture to the several forms of force which may be legitimately employed in war...” cited in Mettraux, id at p.145 (Emphasis added). President Roosevelt affirmed the conviction of MAJ Glenn and disapproved the acquittal of LT Hickman. Id.
      ibid., footnote 110, pp. 35

    When it was a Japanese officer forcing false confessions out of US servicemen during World War II, we might note, the sentence was 25 years hard labor. That sounds more along the right lines to me than a one month suspension. When Sheriff James Parker of San Jacinto County, Texas was convicted in 1983 of waterboarding several suspects he got 4 years.

    United States District Judge James DeAnda’s comments at sentencing were telling. He told the former Sheriff that he had allowed law enforcement to "...fall into the hands of a bunch of thugs....The operation down there would embarrass the dictator of a country."

    And maybe it would embarrass us, if we had any shame left.

:: posted by buermann @ 2007-11-06 21:22:13 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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