Tag Archives: torture

Petraeus Linked To Torture In Iraq (Video)

7 Mar

James SteeleIt’s unfortunate that self-correction comes ten years late for Iraq.

I was wrong for a lot of reasons — strategic, political, humanitarian — but the most important is that the Iraq War did not meet the basic test of a just war, which allows for pre-emptive military action against an imminent threat, but not preventive war designed to stop such imminent threats from even emerging. The Iraq War, to my mind, was clearly a preventive war and thus constituted a crime of aggression.

Andrew Sullivan to his credit is conducting his own public confession, that he was wrong about the Iraq War, raising the standard for any blogger who has ever made an error in code.

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The Inside War On Terror

23 Feb

War on Terror LogoJust listening to Jess Bravin or Stuart Couch talk about torture at Gitmo is harrowing enough, and I hope no one regardless of his/her ideological leanings is jaded enough not to be moved emotionally by these accounts of how “justice” is practiced in citizens’ names.

And so, over the subsequent eight or nine months, it became clear that this information—that what had been done to Slahi amounted to torture. Specifically, he had been subjected to a mock execution. He had sensory deprivation. He had environmental manipulation; that is, you know, cell is too cold, or the cell is too hot. He, at one point, was taken off of the island and driven around in a boat to make him believe that he was being transferred to a foreign country for interrogation. He was presented with a ruse that the United States had taken custody of his mother and his brother and that they were being brought to Guantánamo. It was on a letter with fake letterhead from the State Department, I believe it was. And in the letter, there was a discussion that his mother would be the only female detainee held at Guantánamo and concerns for her safety.

So, any one of these individual things, I don’t believe, as a legal matter, rose to the level of torture, until I got evidence of an email between one of the officers responsible for the—for the guards that were guarding Slahi and a military psychologist. And there was this discussion over this email about the fact that Slahi was experiencing hallucinations. And then—and the psychologist, as she was giving her opinion as to this concern raised, it was clear to me that she was aware that the circumstances of Slahi’s detention had been set up to such a point where he would experience these types of mental breakdown.

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Trapped In Evil

11 Dec

There’s a bedeviling problem, when pundits forget where they put their rhetoric.

Evil is a moral problem for everyone, difficult to acknowledge in ourselves, hard to understand in others, and difficult to defeat without committing lesser evils. Liberals—I count myself as one—have a special problem with evil, connected to our particular form of self-regard. Liberals like to believe we are tolerant, but evil, by definition, cannot be tolerated. We believe that politics ought to be deliberative, but we can’t deliberate with evil. We think compromise can be honorable, but there are no honorable compromises with evil. We think politics ought to be governed by reason, but evildoers, while they may reason, are not reasonable.

Message to Michael Ignatieff: you’ve flogged the far left enough now! Put down the match, and let the straw man alone!
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