Monday, December 12, 2005

The George Bush - Condoleezza Rice Torture Lie

Like a mantra, both George Bush and Condoleezza Rice almost daily proclaim that "we do not torture". If this was true it would be a responsible, respectable and morally decent form of respect for international law. But the problem is that this is an outright lie. The U.S. does use torture both towards terrorists and prisoners of war and set up a prison system in Iraq and other areas that allows it including secret prisons or allowing foreign guards to use abuse to achieve U.S. intelligence goals.

General Janis Karpinski, a private business consultant, military intelligence officer, and operations reserve officer formerly a Special Forces commander was put in charge of three large jails. And the abuses at Abu Gharib that were allowed under her command to"break" prisoners were the rule of law. Now it is easy to make some mentally challenged persons such as Lyndie England a scapecoat. But the system under Karpinski allowed for the widespread use of American torture against both suspected terrorists as well as prisoners of war.

Under Karpinski, several thousand Iraqi civilians including many teenagers and women were picked up in routine "military sweeps" and subjected to torture methods so that the U.S. could seek out the invisible support for the insurgency or against the U.S. occupation.

Karpinski allowed prisoner and interrogation abuses without the benefit of a trial or lawyer of Iraqi citizens that included such things as broomhandle beatings, broomhandle rapes or rape threats, breaking chemical lights and torturing prisoners with phosphoric chemicals, using military dogs to bite, opening wounds and then allowing the military interrogators to stitch the wound without any painkillers so the abuse and beatings can continue and other abuses. In addition, photographic evidence of abuses at Abu Ghraib under Karpinski proved a widespread pattern of abuses of Iraqi citizens simply picked up off the streets to force information from them about the invisible Irraqi insurgency. Despite this scandal, other abuses such as forced sleep deprivation, loud music that could ear damage, "waterboarding" a form of mock execution, and other torture methods still continue despite the outright lies of both Bush and Rice who boldly prpclaim that the U.S. "does not torture".

But even in Bush's own party, there is little support for torture. Senator John McCain is pushing for antitorture bill that Mr. Bush threatens to veto. And even from very conservative South Carolina, with many military families living in the state, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham strongly opposes torture as unacceptable for the U.S. to practice.

During World War II, my own grandfather, Captain John Einarson, was a merchant marine captain of a large ship that transported equipment and arms to American, British and Australian troops in the pacific. His ship, the Ipswitch was captured by the Japanese Navy and he was made a prisoner of war by the Japanese and brutally tortured and abused including flogged in efforts to pry information from him. After the war, many Japanese commanders were tried and some were even hung as war criminals for authorizing such abuses of prisoners, who were often civilians. But no such harsh sense of justice will meet Americans soldiers who similarly abuse citizen detainees, prisoners of war or terrorist suspects. Instead a few scapegoats such as mentally challenged military reservist soldier Lyndie England, will be jailed for a few years while the military leaders who authorized these antiGevena Convention abuses are allowed to continue the abuse policy.

And the President who lies to allow a system that promotes these abuses is given a complete free pass from the American media, Congress and the American public to be questioned about support for allowing a system of abuses and torture to continue. There is a hidden code that allows a "understanding" that allowing abuses of some prisoners may help to pry information from some prisoners, and allows Bush, Rice and some military leaders to publicly claim such abuses do not exist, while strongly endorsing a system that allows these abuses to continue in the name of claimed "national security" goals. Soldiers such as the "trailer park torturer" Lyndie England who are caught in such abuses face jail. Lyndie England has already claimed that military leaders encouraged her abuses of prisoners. But the military leaders who authorize this system are above any legal reproach, sanctions or questions. No major military commander will face military trial for approving the abuses, only the soldiers who claimed they were "only following orders". This entire system greatly angers Senator John McCain, who faced five years of torture and abuse from his Vietnamese captors. His captors all escaped justice as well. In World War II, the world was disgusted with the abuses from Germany and Japan during the war. But now this moral standard seems to no longer hold true for the present day U.S.

Mr. Bush wants things two ways. He publicly claims that torture does not exist, but then claims he will veto any bill that Sentor McCain promotes that specifically bans torture. And Bush wants exceptions put into any bill that allows any "intelligence" oriented personnel to use torture or abuse methods to pry information. But John McCain is right. He wants to bring morality to a system that should be respectable for the U.S.

Terrorism is absolutely awful, as well are terrorists. But under torture, a prisoner will often give false information simply to stop the pain. In Egypt, a prisoner falsely claimed a connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which the Bush Administration used to promote the 2003 war in Iraq. But the information was wrong and worthless. Torture only gathers wrong and false information and lowers the moral standing of the U.S. It has no place under American standards of decency or under international law.


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