Torture: Of course it matters

Posted by The Real Don Johnson on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:14:20 AM

I’m writing in response to a challenge I’ve received regarding my position on the Bush Administrations so called Torture methods.

First of all I don’t subscribe to the notion that “torture” was used in the interrogation of detainees at Gitmo or any of the black CIA sites used for interrogation of high value terrorist detainees.

I do take this matter seriously, but as I wrote in a previous essay, I have come to terms with the issue from the point of view of the methods not being torture. I’ve read DOJ findings on this matter, and accept the conclusions that the methods massed the muster on U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.

Here’s what I know about torture, and I don’t expect it differs too from view of many others, nor from the finding of the Bush administration’s Justice Department’s ruling on the legality of the matter:

  • · I’ve read about the torture methods of past civilizations, the racks, impaling, etc., and I have seen these machines in the museums.

  • · I’ve read the accounts of the torture used by the Nazi regime, such as tightening screws placed into the legs or joints of victims .

  • · I’ve read the accounts of the torture used by Communist regimes around the world.

  • · I’ve read the accounts of water tortures; of pouring boiling water or hot oil down the throat and nostrils of the victims; of filling the stomach and intestines of the victims until they took on the appearance of toads; then the accounts of those same torturers jumping on the victims to expel the liquid. Repeating until death!

  • · I’ve read the accounts of torture used by the Japanese in the 1930’s and 40’s, including the water treatment I’ve just described.

  • · I’ve read the accounts of the North Vietnamese torture of POWs such as John McCain, Jeremiah Denton, Leo Thorsness, Bud Day and others. Each of these heroes is certainly qualified to speak to the issue, but only John McCain comes out against the Enhanced Interrogation Methods (EIM). The others support the EIM program.

  • · I’ve seen the gruesome video recordings of the al Qaida beheadings of Nick Berg, Richard Pearl and an American contractor in Iraq.

  • · I’ve seen a video of young Arab boys, perhaps as young as 12, learning the art of beheading by actually beheading a living man.

  • · I’ve seen the pictures of innocent civilians jumping or falling to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers.

  • · I’ve read the firsthand account of a survivor of the World Trade Center attack, and her riveting description of those victims she witnessed in her horrific decent in the stairwell of the tower as it burned and collapsed. I’ve read her account of the splats and thuds around her of those victims that fell or jumped from the burning tower, and shed their blood, organs and bones on the concrete below. I’ve read her account of the many months of night and day terror in trying to deal with the tragedy and enormity of the event on her life.

I have also:

  • · Read the Bush DOJ findings on the legality of the Enhanced Interrogation Methods (EIM), including water boarding.

  • · Read of the extensive safeguards developed and used to insure the methods were legal and humane.

  • · Read the Geneva Convention articles dealing with torture, and also U.S. law on the matter. I read these in the context of the DOJ findings on EIMs, and have come to terms with the EIMs and their legality (no, I am not a lawyer, just a concerned citizen).

  • · Watched a video where a reporter volunteers to undergo the exact same water boarding as was done to only three of the high value detainees (none, zero, nada at Gitmo). It was not pleasant to watch, and was certainly unpleasant for the reporter. However, the session was brief, only about 5 seconds before panic set in and the victim called it off by pressing a button positioned by his thumb. At no time did any liquid enter his nose, mouth, lungs of stomach, and to guard against such a possibility, a sterile saline solution was used; a doctor and psychiatrist were present having the authority to stop the session at any time it was thought necessary to protect the well being of the “victim”. The reporter was visibly very shaken by his treatment, but recovered quite rapidly, and was soon able to gather his wits together and comment on the experience in a coherent way. This reporter experienced the same thing as some 24,000+ U.S. military experienced as part of their training. Were these 24,000+ episodes of torture?

Among the readings I have done over the years on this issue include:

· Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay by Gordon Cucullu (a retired army colonel) I hope to publish a review of this book in the coming days, stay tuned.

· Courting Disaster by Marc A. Thieson, the chief speech writer for President Bush during these times. Thieson was “read in” to the CIA program, and had complete access to the principles involved. I hope to publish a review of this book in the coming days, stay tuned.

Some personal thoughts and issues:

  • · My son and his wife are both flight attendants for American Airlines, and were working the LA to NY route on a regular basis in the months surrounding 9/11. Either or both could have been a victim.

  • · My niece’s husband was stationed at the Pentagon on 9/11, but was off sight at the time of the attack. He could very well have been a victim.

  • · My daughter and her family live in Connecticut, and on occasion visit New York. It is not out of the realm of possibility that one or more of them might have fallen victim to the attack.

  • · My wife and I travel quite a bit, in and out of LAX, JFK, and London Heathrow, as do my son and his wife. Thanks to information obtained by the CIA from KSM, planned attacks against LA, London Heathrow, and London itself were thwarted by the “evil” Bush administration. Furthermore, a plot to hijack 7 airliners from various points in Europe was thwarted. The plan was to blow the planes out of the sky over the Atlantic Ocean. Again, my wife, son, daughter-in-law and I, as well as numerous friends were flying some of these potential routes in the days and months following 9/11.
    Thank you President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the CIA for your courage and leadership.


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