Monday, June 04, 2007

another side of torture

The Washington Post today runs an article about three interrogators -- an American who was in military intelligence in Iraq January 2004-January 2005, a British (Northern Irish) who interrogated Irish Republican Army members, and an Israeli.

Two quotes from the American, Tony Lagouranis:

"I tortured people. You have to twist your mind up so much to justify doing that."
"At every point, there was part of me resisting, part of me enjoying. Using dogs on someone, there was a tingling throughout my body. If you saw the reaction in the prisoner, it's thrilling."

Among the other problems with torturing people is what it does to the interrogators, and to our society. Lagouranis seems troubled by what he did; his girlfriend describes him as gentle. But even he admits to enjoying the administration of torture against helpless prisoners. Do we really want our intelligence and military and police developing a taste for torture in some who may enjoy it more than Lagouranis, and be bothered by it less?

Another quote, from a victim of torture:

"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."

This instance was in the Soviet Union. But Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident who was tortured for having the nerve not to wholeheartedly agree with the Communist system, also points to the problems the TORTURERS suffered (writing in December 2005): "Today, when the White House lawyers seem preoccupied with contriving a way to stem the flow of possible lawsuits from former detainees, I strongly recommend that they think about another flood of suits, from the men and women in your armed services or the CIA agents who have been or will be engaged in CID practices. Our rich experience in Russia has shown that many will become alcoholics or drug addicts, violent criminals or, at the very least, despotic and abusive fathers and mothers."

Torture. Cruel. Ineffective. Un-american. Dehumanizing. We shouldn't be doing this, and we shouldn't tolerate a government that encourages it. Especially since you never know when their focus might change to others they proclaim enemies of the state.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, my friend, Amen.

While I left before most of this started and the Secret Service is not involved in this type of treatment, the fact of the matter is my children and grand children will look back at this period of U.S. history as the point where lady liberty took lady justices blind fold and lost her way. It hurts even now to think my children or grand children will think "was he part of that." Especially considering the fact that I was very proud of everything I did in my time working for the U.S. government.

Former Special Agent U.S. Sercret Service.

10:08 AM  

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