Merely Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading

From Amnesty International's web page:

Memorandum to the US Government on the report of the UN Committee Against Torture and the question of closing Guantánamo

'On 2 December 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld approved, "as a matter of policy", a number of techniques for use in interrogating detainees at Guantánamo, at the discretion of the Commander of US Southern Command. The techniques included stress positions, sensory deprivation, isolation, the use of 20-hour interrogations, hooding during transportation and interrogation, stripping, forcible shaving, and "using detainees individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress". '

We are discussing the definition of torture on this blog, but please remember that when referring to torture, this Administration is not including the tactics described above. That is why definitions are so important.


The Lazy Iguana said...

We ought to subject Rumsfield to "forcible shaving". That could be fun. Not for the person that has to do the shaving, but great fun for watching TV press confrences!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how these things are not torture.

Econo-Girl said...

Me, either.

But according to our Secretary of Defense, they aren't. It's their loophole. So they can talk about not torturing but still mistreat people.

It's gross.

BTW has anyone found a torture definition from Amnesty Intl? I looked but couldn't find one.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I found this on Wikipedia.

Torture is any act by which severe pain, whether physical or psychological, is intentionally inflicted on a person as a means of intimidation, deterrence, revenge, punishment, or information gathering. It can be used as an interrogation tactic to extract confessions. Torture is also used as a method of coercion or as a tool to control groups seen as a threat by governments. Throughout history, it has often been used as a method of effecting religious conversion or political "re-education".

Torture is almost universally considered to be an extreme violation of human rights, as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Signatories of the Third Geneva Convention and Fourth Geneva Convention agree not to torture protected persons (enemy civilians and POWs) in armed conflicts, and signatories of the UN Convention Against Torture agree not to intentionally inflict severe pain or suffering on anyone, to obtain information or a confession, to punish them, or to coerce them or a third person. These conventions and agreements notwithstanding, it is estimated by organizations such as Amnesty International that around two out of three countries do not consistently abide by the spirit of such treaties.

BUT.....it also goes on to say there are loopholes in the Geneva Convention. Such as POWs from nations that are not part of the treaty are not protected by it.

I am not an expert in the details of various international agreements. However, I just think that the USA should take the moral high road on this and abide by our agreements - regardless what the other side does. After all, the other side is barbaric, and we are civilized. Right?!?!

Econo-Girl said...

Oh, Iggy. You are such an idealist. Actually, you are a pragmatist. Applying a high moral standard to captives makes sense because at least a few of them will live and go on to lead their nations. Look at Nelson Mandela.

If those bean brains who killed Che or deposed the elected leader of Iran in the Fifties could see the results of their actions, maybe they would have been willing to compromise with a democracy.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how we could possibly expect anybody to come over to our side when they see us doing this stuff.

Doug said...

This is the perfect example of the administration's approach to everything. Act whimsically and discipline the description.