Once again, this is not The America I Believe In, but there it is. America as a sick, demented, torturer. Yes, it sickens me the most, that this is my country doing this, our country now torturing around the world. Openly, no longer hidden from the public, who should be more outraged. Our country, which is not a dictatorship. We’re a democracy, so this is us.
I went to see a special advance showing of Taxi to the Dark Side with other local Amnesty International members tonight. Taxi to the Dark Side is yet another a truly disturbing and well made documentary on the subject of torture – torture by the US. A young taxi driver from Afghanistan is taken in to Bagram by US soldiers after being turned in as the driver of a get away card for a missile attack against the US base. As it later turned out, turned in by the man who was making the attacks himself, then ingratiating himself by turning in random people as the attackers.
The taxi driver died from torture, his legs having been pulverized by kicking (much of it while chained in a stress position) to the point where, had he lived, his legs would have had to have been amputated. A man who left behind a family, including a wife and young daughter. A man only known as a number, a hooded non-entity, by his torturers. Young American soldiers “just following orders” (who, of course, when the shit hits the fan are the only ones court marshaled, not those giving the orders). Never the less, just as with the soldiers interviewed in Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, the fact is some of them really started getting into it, this time continuing to kick and beat his legs because he screamed out, then to make him scream out.
Torturing using stress positions, chains, cages, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation etc.. Once again, with Alfred McCoy pointing out these are techniques developed by the CIA, not something “the night shift” at Abu Ghraib dreamed up on their own.
You have the Bush administration, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, actively advocating for torture and making sure laws are passed that they’ll never be prosecuted for war crimes; then they’re “Shocked! Shocked!” that torture is going on.
So “enhanced techniques” are approved because we’re not getting enough information from a suspected Al Queda mastermind, then spread from Guantanamo to Belgram then from both to Abu Ghraib. Oh, wait, the information we got through torture, and used to justify the Iraq war? Oops, it wasn’t true. Of course, you can get people to confess all kinds of things when tortured; but is it true?
Encouraging is that there were some willing to speak out and outraged within the system, including a group of JAGs (Judge Advocate Generals), someone from within the administration (after which he was kept out of the loop) and John McCain, who knows about torture too well from his own past. Alas, he allowed himself to be bullied into standing down on the issue when it came to voting, evidently due to threats from Bush of thwarting McCains chance for election with conservatives.
This is our country. Does this make us any safer? In addition to unreliable intelligence, what else does it give us? Other than a recruitment add for terrorists?
This isn’t tv. The “ticking time bomb” scenario isn’t reality. Turn off the torture porn. This is real, and it’s happening in our name. This is not the America I Believe In.