December 14, 2005


Hate torture? Consider boot camp (Max Boot, December 14, 2005, LA Times)

HOLD THE PRESSES. I've discovered that the use of torture by the U.S. government is far more pervasive than previously believed. There are major facilities all over the country where thousands of men and women who have not committed any crime are held for prolonged periods while subjected to physical and psychological coercion that violates every tenet of the Geneva Convention.

They are routinely made to stand for long periods in uncomfortable positions. They are made to walk for hours while wearing heavy loads on their backs. They are bullied by martinets who get in their faces and yell insults at them. They are hit and often knocked down with clubs known as pugil sticks. They are denied sleep for more than a day at a time. They are forced to inhale tear gas. They are prevented from seeing friends or family. Some are traumatized by this treatment. Others are injured. A few even die.

Should Amnesty International or the International Committee of the Red Cross want to investigate these human-rights abuses, they could visit Parris Island, S.C., Camp Pendleton, Calif., Ft. Benning, Ga., Ft. Jackson, S.C., and other bases where the Army and Marines train recruits. It's worth keeping in mind how roughly the U.S. government treats its own defenders before we get too worked up over the treatment of captured terrorists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2005 12:30 PM

We're really going to start tormenting those dastardly terrorists. We're sending them to...junior high school! One with a lot of really mean girls! God, we're bastards!

Posted by: Bryan at December 14, 2005 1:03 PM

What Mr. Boot does not mention is that the people going through boot camp are volunteers, the people in Gitmo are not.

Posted by: Warren Dace at December 14, 2005 2:27 PM

They are drafted.

Posted by: Luciferous at December 14, 2005 2:33 PM

Terrorists are volunteers too.

Posted by: Lisa at December 14, 2005 2:35 PM

Actually, my understanding is that water boarding comes from military training in resisting torture. Apparently, it's really awful and none of our guys can stand it for very long.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 14, 2005 2:41 PM

Mr. Dace: What possible difference could that make? Is it your understanding that, because soldiers are volunteers, the military is allowed to torture them? Heck, drill sergeants aren't even allowed to swear at them any more.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 14, 2005 2:46 PM

Mr. Dace:

Where do you imagine terrorists and Islamicists come from?

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2005 3:13 PM

Mr Dace - Since we have the right, under international law, to make summary executions of captured terrorists, we can simply give them the choice of instant death, or Gitmo. I suspect they'll volunteer.

Posted by: pj at December 14, 2005 3:43 PM

I am firmly against torture, but understand that simply because something is unpleasant, it does not necessarily mean its torture. We have not really thought about what sort of specific actions cross the line from coercion to torture. As such, society's opinion on this is really ill-informed.

I think if everyone is honest, we can determine that line. But the left needs to give up any kneejerk disapproval of anything unpleasant, and the right needs to abandon its rather shallow justification for actual torture simply because they believe in interrogation.

Too bad both sides are less interested in resolving the issue responsible than making political hay out of it, I fear. That OJ seems to view this more as a campaign slogan issue than a serious moral one disappoints me.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at December 14, 2005 3:58 PM

Public discussion of this issue is juvenile. Any consideration of torture as an officially sanctioned procedure is out in cloud-cucoo land with Dershowitz' "torture warrants."

If we ever had a real "ticking bomb" scenario, we would do what we had to do, but no one would ever talk about it.

What would happen would be similar to an incident in our city about 20 years ago when some g.s.c. kidnapped and raped a nun. The police van must have made a couple of quick stops, because it took them 40 minutes to transport him 6 blocks, after which every bone in his body was broken---he damn near died--and nothing ever happened to any of the police.

Anybody made to talk in a ticking bomb situation is just going to disappear and that will be the end of the story.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 14, 2005 6:40 PM