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Message Icon Topic: With the Gloves Off, By Bob Herbert, The Post Reply Post New Topic
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MOCKBA
 
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Quote MOCKBA Replybullet Topic: With the Gloves Off, By Bob Herbert, The
    Posted: 27 May 2005 at 9:42pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/26/opinion/26herbert.html

A photo of President Bush gingerly holding a month-old baby was on the front page of yesterday's New York Times. Mr. Bush is in the habit of telling us how precious he thinks life is, all life.

The story was about legislation concerning embryonic stem cell research, and it included a comment from Tom DeLay urging Americans to reject "the treacherous notion that while all human lives are sacred, some are more sacred than others."

Ahh, pretty words. Now I wonder when Mr. Bush and Mr. DeLay will find the time to address - or rather, to denounce - the depraved ways in which the United States has dealt with so many of the thousands of people (many of them completely innocent) who have been swept up in the so-called war on terror.

People have been murdered, tortured, rendered to foreign countries to be tortured at a distance, sexually violated, imprisoned without trial or in some cases simply made to "disappear" in an all-American version of a practice previously associated with brutal Latin American dictatorships. All of this has been done, of course, in the name of freedom.

The government would prefer to keep these matters secret, but we're living in a digital age of near-instantaneous communication. Evidence of atrocities tend to emerge sooner rather than later, frequently illustrated with color photos or videos.

A recent report from Physicians for Human Rights is the first to comprehensively examine the use of psychological torture by Americans against detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The employment of psychological torture, the report says, was a direct result of decisions developed by civilian and military leaders to "take the gloves off" during interrogations and "break" prisoners through the use of techniques like "sensory deprivation, isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, the use of military working dogs to instill fear, cultural and sexual humiliation, mock executions, and the threat of violence or death toward detainees or their loved ones."

"Although the evidence is far from complete," the report says, "what is known warrants the inference that psychological torture was central to the interrogation process and reinforced through conditions of confinement."

In other words, this insidious and deeply inhumane practice was not the work of a few bad apples. As we have seen from many other investigations, the abuses flowed inexorably from policies promulgated at the highest levels of government.

Warfare, when absolutely unavoidable, is one thing. But it's a little difficult to understand how these kinds of profoundly dehumanizing practices - not to mention the physical torture we've heard so much about - could be enthusiastically embraced by a government headed by men who think all life is sacred. Either I'm missing something, or President Bush, Tom DeLay and their ilk are fashioning whole new zones of hypocrisy for Americans to inhabit.

There's nothing benign about psychological torture. The personality of the victim can disintegrate entirely. Common effects include memory impairment, nightmares, hallucinations, acute stress disorder and severe depression with vegetative symptoms. The damage can last for many years.

Torturing prisoners, rather than making the U.S. safer, puts us all in greater danger. The abuses of detainees at places like Guantánamo and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq have come to define the United States in the minds of many Muslims and others around the world. And the world has caught on that large percentages of the people swept up and incarcerated as terrorists by the U.S. were in fact innocent of wrongdoing and had no connection to terrorism at all.

Bitterness against the U.S. has increased exponentially since the initial disclosures about the abuse of detainees. What's the upside of policies that demean the U.S. in the eyes of the world while at the same time making us less rather than more secure?

The government, like an addict in denial, will not even admit that we have a problem.

"We're in this Orwellian situation," said Leonard Rubenstein, the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, "where the statements by the administration, by the president, are unequivocal: that the United States does not participate in, or condone, torture. And yet it has engaged in legal interpretations and interrogation policies that undermine that absolutist stance."

E-mail: bobherb@nytimes.com

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Quote Yusuf. Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2005 at 10:14pm
Assalamu alaikum,
 
This article sheds some light on the "logic" behind Bush's hypocrisy:
 


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Quote MOCKBA Replybullet Posted: 27 May 2005 at 11:32pm

Wa'alaikumu Salaam,

The Dajjal and the two rivers he brings with him, that appear to be quite opposite from what they are in reality... If Bush is a "freedom fighter" in such world, one should be quite proud to be a "terrorist".

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Quote ummziba Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2005 at 5:42am

Assalamu alaikum,

Things may only get worse.  I fear a day when all Muslims residing in Canada and the United States will be rounded up and put into internment camps (like they did to people of Japanese ethnicity during World War II).

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~
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Quote MOCKBA Replybullet Posted: 28 May 2005 at 5:47am

Wa Salaam!

We'll move only when the war knocks at our own door. Meanwhile...

May Allah forgive us and may Allah guide straight those who seek His guidance! Ameen.



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