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View Diary: Standing Behind a Ban on Torture (244 comments)

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  •  Growing number of diaries here on torture (11+ / 0-)

    Here is a quotation from one I'm looking forward to reading.

    I've been working on a diary about torture, the main point of which is that we as people no longer think very clearly, no longer have a sense of our fundamental values.

    I may have to write a diary, too, because I feel this so deeply that torture is used to shame and humiliate us, as well. Her is my start:

    Torture lives on beyond the flesh of the tortured. It's main purpose isn't to extract information - it is to make us all who hear of it fearful for our own flesh. It's purpose is the humiliate the by-standers [us] by making us feel helpless. It is sadism directed at the flesh of the one, sadism for the pleasure of giving pain, with the larger benefit of giving pain to the onlooker - us. In a democracy, giving pain to the owners of the government - us.

    Bush's specialty was humiliation of those present, and those observing from afar, for his own pleasure. Real power for a sadist means expanding the reach of coercion, humiliation, destruction, and pain. The smirk was an expression of pleasure - for the sadist.

    To that I would add, General Cullen, that men like you, in your position, were one of the objects of the Bush torture actions.  Torture becomes public in order to humiliate the others in charge who can't stop it. Torture wasn't secret to the Bush administration - we saw the photos then saw Bush saying, "We don't torture."

    It is a particular type of humiliation that abusive persons use on those they hurt and who love them. "I didn't hurt you." They lie about the reality of the harm to the one harmed. "Not only did I hurt you but I demand that you agree that I didn't." It's the torturer's lie, the sadist's lie, and it increases the pleasure to the sadist.

    The purpose of a torture policy isn't to get information - it is to humiliate and control the rest of us who are forced to look on.

    Where is Howard Dean?

    by mrobinson on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 11:08:46 AM PST

    •  mrobinson, some reflections my friend: (1+ / 0-)

      As alluded to in another comment, I have seen episodes of torture of VC prisoners by South Vietnamese irregulars in the field. I have wanted for a long time to do a diary but it is a struggle. Maybe someday I can in a way that makes sense.

      In short, though, and in response to one of your points, the abuses I witnessed did seem to have the extraction of information as at least one of the main objectives. They took a lot of notes.

      I would say, though,  that concern about the quality of the information at this level was probably minimal, negated by factors relating to your points: revenge and summary punishment of the enemy, intimidation, excercise of ultimate power over "the other."

      The perpetrators in these cases were crudely trained and under the general guidance of a corrupt regime, not to mention that they had just been under fire from someone who they probably thought they had now hanging by their elbows in front of them -- the formulators and supporters of torture policy at the top, regardless of nationality, are far more guilty, in my opinion.

      I look forward to more from you on this. Thanks.

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