What is Torture?

Apparently, not many people have a clue since the latest poll says that 51% of Americans would approve of torture in some cases. Or they would approve of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques whatever that means. Well it actually means torture, and in particular waterboarding. Which as a technique was outlawed in this country until our version of Darth Vader showed up in the persona of Dick Cheney. Of course he contends that our torture of prisoners worked, even light of all the evidence piling up to the contrary.

The problem with Dick and his ravings is many faceted. First of all we as a nation are and have been for some time signatory to a document that outlaws torture, call it Enhanced Interrogation Techniques or whatever you like, torture by any other name would stink as much. And until the ole Dickster came along every president including the GOP demigod Reagan (who signed a document against torture) have kept the faith began by George Washington standing against torture or EIT if you want to call it that.

Torture empirical evidence proves that torture at its most heinous is never an effective way to glean information about what the other side is doing. More times than not any information gained through torture doesn’t pan out is sketchy and in most cases is misleading at best and in the worst case scenarios is downright false. I know we see spy movies and novels and torture is used as an effective plot device but in real life it doesn’t work that way.

And to say we’ve done in the past is true in part, but in every case prior when we as a government discovered that we were doing it, it was dealt with. In the during the campaign in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th Century several members of our army were summarily cashiered because they had been found to have used torture to try to gain information. George Washington who set the standard against the use of torture when he refused to allow captured British Hessians to be tortured.

He warned against the use of torture in his farewell address to the nation and other presidents after him continued down the years to stand by that. That is until we got to the neo-cons led by Dick Cheney. Cheney and members of the CIA who participated and devised the methods they used are now trying to change history and cover their butts with oil so that they can slip away and go hide in the deep dark corners from where they crawled out from under the rocks they were hiding under.

The poll just released is, in my opinion, skewed to make it seem like torture should be okay in certain instances like after something like 9/11, but we as Americans shouldn’t be falling into that trap because Enhanced Interrogation Techniques is a benign sounding term that doesn’t sound half bad as what it actually stands for. Let them take a poll that gets specific and uses the raw language of torture and then let us see how Americans feel about torture.

We as a people and as a nation should never approve of the systematic torture of anyone. Torture is wrong on so many levels and all the evidence (Dick Cheney not withstanding) proves that it doesn’t work and never has. We as a people and a nation are better than that and we are certainly better than the Dick Cheney’s of the world who are at best demented and at worst without any human compassion or dignity.

Bob Bearden


One thought on “What is Torture?

  1. It could be these people have never had the “privilege” of experiencing extreme pain and humiliation. If not, they should perhaps imagine how it feels.
    It’s quite simple, one does not inflict pain on another person.

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