Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Torture? You're soaking in it!

From Andrew Sullivans Blog, he provides different perceptions on Waterboarding by comparing testimony from a captured American Pilot in a WWII war crimes prosecution and to a CIA document describing what is allowed by the White House. I think it makes clear what we've been saying on this blog and on the radio show for some time now: The Bush Administration is engaging in acts that the Allies prosecuted people for doing to us. We defined practices like Waterboarding, rightfully, as criminal acts that require punishment and should not be allowed by a civilized and moral people. I guess we're not that anymore.

The Law of War page that Sullivan links provides some background on this issue:

The prosecutor in that case was vehement in arguing that the captured Doolittle fliers had been wrongfully convicted by the Japanese tribunal, in part because they were convicted based on evidence obtained through torture. "The untrustworthiness of any admissions or confessions made under torture," he said, "would clearly vitiate a conviction based thereon."

At the end of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East of which the United States was a leading member (the Tribunal was established by Douglas MacArthur) convicted former Japanese Prime Minister Tojo and numerous other generals and admirals of a panoply of war crimes. Among them was torture:

The practice of torturing prisoners of war and civilian internees prevailed at practically all places occupied by Japanese troops, both in the occupied territories and in Japan. The Japanese indulged in this practice during the entire period of the Pacific War. Methods of torture were employed in all areas so uniformly as to indicate policy both in training and execution. Among these tortures were the water treatment...

The so-called "water treatment" was commonly applied. The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach until he lost consciousness. Pressure was then applied, sometimes by jumping upon his abdomen to force the water out. The usual practice was to revive the victim and successively repeat the process.

These people in the White House and the Pentagon really are pieces of work.

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