There was an interesting article originally published in the Boston Globe recently, called “Cruel Science: The Long Shadow of CIA Torture Research.” It is an analysis of the recent torture photos coming out of Iraq.
Basically, the story is that such torture by Americans is nothing new. This will not be news to anyone who has not brainwashed by American mass media.
There are, however, a few relevant passages. The first is an analysis of “no touch torture,” in which “interrogators use two essential methods, disorientation and self-inflicted pain, to make victims feel responsible for their own suffering.” The effects of “no touch torture” spread to both perpetrators and victims:
Although seemingly less brutal, “no touch” torture leaves deep psychological scars on both victims and interrogators. The victims often need long treatment to recover from trauma far more crippling than physical pain. The perpetrators can suffer a dangerous expansion of ego, leading to escalating cruelty and lasting emotional problems.
I agree with this analysis; my quasi-Buddhist, compassionate side knows that everyone involved with torture suffers on some level, and are therefore worthy of compassion. I just can’t imagine being in a situation where torturing another human being is the best choice that can be made.
Regarding these specific perps from the Iraq photos, and who is to blame for the atrocities, McCoy says the following:
these seven MPs are neither “creeps” nor weaklings who succumbed to the prison pressure-cooker. They are ordinary American soldiers following orders within a standard interrogation procedure. Whatever their guilt, the court martial of these soldiers should be just a first step up the chain of command and beyond to far-reaching reforms.
That’s perhaps the most relevant statement regarding the systematic American torture of its prisoners I’ve seen.
I can’t believe this is an issue. Any credibility for American imperialism somehow “helping” or “freeing” whatever occupied territory they are in is gone.