Monday, October 02, 2006


I have just finished reading an article in Rolling Stone that details the systematic torture of a detainee held in Guantanamo Bay.

The administration has promoted the torture of detainees while telling us they do not torture as defined by them. Let us consider the use of "stress positions". The recent bill that passed the House and Senate allows the use of this technique.
In the interrogation room, Omar's interviewer grew displeased with his level of cooperation. He summoned several MPs, who chained Omar tightly to an eye bolt in the center of the floor. Omar's hands and feet were shackled together; the eye bolt held him at the point where his hands and feet met. Fetally positioned, he was left alone for half an hour.

Upon their return, the MPs uncuffed Omar's arms, pulled them behind his back and recuffed them to his legs, straining them badly at their sockets. At the junction of his arms and legs he was again bolted to the floor and left alone. The degree of pain a human body experiences in this particular "stress position" can quickly lead to delirium, and ultimately to unconsciousness. Before that happened, the MPs returned, forced Omar onto his knees, and cuffed his wrists and ankles together behind his back. This made his body into a kind of bow, his torso convex and rigid, right at the limit of its flexibility. The force of his cuffed wrists straining upward against his cuffed ankles drove his kneecaps into the concrete floor. The guards left.

An hour or two later they came back, checked the tautness of his chains and pushed him over on his stomach. Transfixed in his bonds, Omar toppled like a figurine. Again they left. Many hours had passed since Omar had been taken from his cell. He urinated on himself and on the floor. The MPs returned, mocked him for a while and then poured pine-oil solvent all over his body. Without altering his chains, they began dragging him by his feet through the mixture of urine and pine oil. Because his body had been so tightened, the new motion racked it. The MPs swung him around and around, the piss and solvent washing up into his face. The idea was to use him as a human mop. When the MPs felt they'd successfully pretended to soak up the liquid with his body, they uncuffed him and carried him back to his cell. He was not allowed a change of clothes for two days.
This article details the horrible effects that the policies forwarded by the President have had on this detainee. Quite frankly the path chosen by this administration is that tread by the monsters of history. There can be no forgiveness for these actions. No law can make this right. To put this bluntly, the administration is responsible for war crimes, and as the article states the case before an international court would be an easy one to prove.

Our leaders have chosen to institutionalize the use of torture on people they determine are enemy combatants. In the particular case of Omar Kadr, I have no doubt that he was caught in the field of battle. But that fact does not give our government the right to act like over 200 years of constitutional law and military history needed to be forgotten. The emergency we face is no reason to do away with those principles that have lead us to become the strongest nation in the history of the world. Indeed the perverse nature of this administration by foregoing those principles that have led us to our stature can not be forgiven. They weaken us with these tactics and our cause is manifestly harmed by the continuance of these policies.

This can not be simply forgotten or ignored. If you are an American citizen they have done this in yours and my name. We must not allow this to go without notice. The example set by this administration must be met with a response that will discourage future leaders from being tempted to make the same mistake. They must be held accountable for this.

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