Friday, September 29, 2006

Senate approves new tortures for the meek and mild


The Senate on Thursday endorsed President Bush's plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing congressional approval for legislation that Republicans intend to use on the campaign trail to assert their toughness on terrorism.

The 65-34 vote means the bill could reach the president's desk by week's end. The House passed nearly identical legislation on Wednesday and was expected to approve the Senate bill on Friday, sending it on to the White House.

The bill would create military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects. It also would prohibit some of the worst abuses of detainees like mutilation and rape, but grant the president leeway to decide which other interrogation techniques are permissible.

Do we actually need a law to prevent americans from mutilating prisoners? Even heinous cretins?

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Demosthenes said...

Do we actually need a law to prevent Americans from mutilating prisoners? Even heinous cretins?

I totally support the new bill, but your argument here is heinously bad. Yes, we do need a law to prevent Americans from mutilating prisoners as Abu Ghraib showed. Luckily, we already have those laws, so we could prosecute.
But not only is your argument wrong, it is bad propaganda. Fears of prisoner abuse is part of the reason that people opposed the new bill on the treatment of terrorist suspects is just that. Rather than feed their fears of insensitivity on this issue, you should be arguing that there are adequate protections in place.

Epaminondas said...

Who had their fingers chopped?
Who lost a leg? Who got bamboo shoots inserted?

On the other hand, the P300 test which requires NOTHING but recording electrodes and the viewing of images is considered an OUTRAGE by the same stds in this law.

again, art 3 of the geneva convention considers such tests ILLEGAL ..

The reason the geneva accords exist is the treatment american got at the hands of teh japanese in WW2, specifying congressional action that anti mutilation laws are compulsory for american service personnel is REPUGNANT .. I am unaware of any mutilation.

Being naked in a humiliating pile SHOULD be illegal but it is NOT mutilation.

Demosthenes said...

Americans probably are the most decent people on Earth, but Americans are not exempt from being evil. Some people are simply evil and would chop fingers or put electrodes to genitalia given a position of power. For instance, the ringleader of Abu Ghraib abuse, Charles Graner, was a Pennsylvania prison guard. For most prison guards, it is an honorable job, but there are some people who pick this profession out of sadism. Given what Graner did at Abu Ghraib and given his past as a prison guard, I think it is a psychological certainty that if Graner had been given more power and had the time, he would start going down the path of Saddam Huissen's sons. Let's not be naive about the dark side of human nature.

On a side note, I was somewhat shocked that there was no media discussion about how unlikely that Abu Ghraib was the first time Graner had abused prisoners. If the media had discussed this issue, it would have been one of the few times I would responded to media discussion of a criminal issue in a bleeding heart sort of way. The discussion was strangely absent. I suspect its absence was for the sinister reason that the MSM didn't want to confuse their issue of abuse of Iraqis by Americans by the revelation that the same Americans abused Americas. (I'm not saying this decision was made consciencely in this manner, but given the MSM's biases that this was in fact how the decision was made without any thought being given at all.)

Pastorius said...

Could you leave a link to an article discussing Graner and what he did?

I've never been able to get a handle on the whole Abu Ghraib thing. There was too much media smog around the issue.

Demosthenes said...

The Wikipedia article on Charles Granier seems ok. You have to keep in mind two things when you read the article:
1) prisoners often lie about abuse
2) abuse does happen
I don't know it's ever possible to get a 100% accurate picture of what Graner did in Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia also has an article on the Abu Gharib scandel. The photographs are strong evidence that things happened that shouldn't have happened. It's also pretty clear that Abu Ghraib seriously hurt support for the "War on Terror".

I do somewhat blame Rumsfield. A young Marine guy who lived near me left for Iraq about a month before the Abu Ghraib pictures came out. I told him not to do anything that would embarass the United States. Rumsfield should have been thinking a little bit more about the PR war and made sure that abuses like Abu Ghraib weren't happening. I realize that even strong efforts to stop such abuses will not be 100% effective, but still a little more effort would have done a world of good.