No, Wait…We Can Torture…

No, Wait…We Can Torture…


Ahh torture

Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

Here’s what the judge on the case said…

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said in a hearing yesterday that she found allegations of aggressive U.S. military tactics used to break the detainee hunger strike “extremely disturbing” and possibly against U.S. and international law. But Justice Department lawyers argued that even if the tactics were considered in violation of McCain’s language, detainees at Guantanamo would have no recourse to challenge them in court.

So basically we’re saying, “We’re force feeding this enemy combatant so we can further torture him…indefinitely.”

When will this end? And please don’t answer with , “When the terrorists stop bombing us!” You all know what I mean by my question, so please respond to it earnestly.

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  • Tom

    The standing for hours on end, the extreme hot and cold, the extended solitary confinement – these things are marginally torture. Not like pulling our fingernails, not like getting your toes cut off, but still “torture-lite”.

    However, force feeding people who are trying to starve themselves doesn’t strike me as a gross violation of human rights.

  • Uncle Mark

    It seems to me that this issue is a surface symptom. Most of these people have been confined for quite some time. I would think we would have extracted the infor we need at this point. These people are no longer enemy combatants, they are prisoners who need to have trial now and have their future determined.

  • Phillip J. Birmingham

    However, force feeding people who are trying to starve themselves doesn’t strike me as a gross violation of human rights.

    In 1971, while in Lefortovo prison in Moscow (the central KGB interrogation jail), I went on a hunger strike demanding a defense lawyer of my choice (the KGB wanted its trusted lawyer to be assigned instead). The moment was most inconvenient for my captors because my case was due in court, and they had no time to spare. So, to break me down, they started force-feeding me in a very unusual manner — through my nostrils. About a dozen guards led me from my cell to the medical unit. There they straitjacketed me, tied me to a bed, and sat on my legs so that I would not jerk. The others held my shoulders and my head while a doctor was pushing the feeding tube into my nostril.

    The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. I could breathe neither in nor out at first; I wheezed like a drowning man — my lungs felt ready to burst. The doctor also seemed ready to burst into tears, but she kept shoving the pipe farther and farther down. Only when it reached my stomach could I resume breathing, carefully. Then she poured some slop through a funnel into the pipe that would choke me if it came back up. They held me down for another half-hour so that the liquid was absorbed by my stomach and could not be vomited back, and then began to pull the pipe out bit by bit. . . . Grrrr. There had just been time for everything to start healing during the night when they came back in the morning and did it all over again, for 10 days, when the guards could stand it no longer. As it happened, it was a Sunday and no bosses were around. They surrounded the doctor: “Hey, listen, let him drink it straight from the bowl, let him sip it. It’ll be quicker for you, too, you silly old fool.” The doctor was in tears: “Do you think I want to go to jail because of you lot? No, I can’t do that. . . . ” And so they stood over my body, cursing each other, with bloody bubbles coming out of my nose. On the 12th day, the authorities surrendered; they had run out of time. I had gotten my lawyer, but neither the doctor nor those guards could ever look me in the eye again.

  • Justin Gardner

    Thank you for linking to that Philip. I believe we posted about it when it came out. This should demonstrate to everybody exactly how something may not SEEM like torture, but actually is.

    I mean, have you ever tried feeding an uncooperative baby? That’s hard enough, let alone a grown man who could very well be just as strong as you, and determined not to open their mouth.

  • Lonely Federalist

    Just out of curiosity, if those folks had succeeded in starving themselves to death, Justin, would you be among the chorus of the “their blood is on Bush’s hands” crooners?

  • Justin Gardner

    Just out of curiosity, if those folks had succeeded in starving themselves to death, Justin, would you be among the chorus of the “their blood is on Bush’s hands� crooners?

    Oh, of course. Don’t you get it? I blame Bush for everything!

    But to answer your question earnestly, the blood would be on America’s hands. Bush and his administration speaks for each and every one of us. So you can’t have a policy like indefinite detainment without access to legal counsel and not be responsible for the well being of these people, regardless of what they may do to themselves. Sure, it’s a Catch 22, but it’s of our own making. The administration’s lawyers found “legal” ways to support these dubious decisions and now we all have to deal with the consequences.

  • Phillip J. Birmingham

    I blame Bush for everything!

    No, no, it’s Shrubbie McHitlerBurton! At least that’s what Glenn Reynolds and Callimachus say we’re supposed to be callin’ ‘im.