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Should America stay in Iraq? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences.

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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-05-07 05:02 PM
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Should America stay in Iraq? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/our-gulag-the-...


Our Gulag: The Secret State of Torture
Posted October 5, 2007 | 08:55 AM (EST)
Tom Hayden

Like a sharp razor cutting through the fog of war, the New York Times headline reads,

"Justice Dept. Said to Back Harshest Tactics After Declaring Torture Abhorrent."

The article could not be clearer. The Bush Justice Department has secretly authorized "the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency."

Simulated drowning. Fear of suffocation. Blows to the head. Naked men held in freezing cells. Sleep deprivation. Noise assaults.

All secretly legalized, from Guantanamo to Abu Graib. Anything is permissible up to organ failure or death, or unless it "shocks the conscience."

In defense of silence, one might claim it is impossible to be shocked at horrors that are not known.

But it we know, and still are not shocked, there are lessons.

It's all in the 1960 classic The Battle of Algiers, in the dialogue between the press and the general:



"Journalist: Excuse me. It seems that out of an excess of caution, my colleagues keep asking you indirect questions. It would be better to call a spade a spade, so let's talk about torture.

The General: The word torture isn't used in our orders. We use "interrogation" as the only valid police method. We could talk for hours to no avail because that is not the problem. The problem is this. The FLN wants to throw us out of Algeria, and we want to stay.

Even with slight shades of opinion, you all agree that we must stay. We're here for that reason alone. We are neither madmen nor sadists. We are soldiers. Our duty is to win. Therefore to be precise, it is my turn to ask a question.

Should France stay in Algeria? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences."



Are the torturers winning? The Times' frontpage headline surrenders the struggle over words. "Severe Interrogation" replaces torture as a description of our behavior. . Nonetheless, the Times' has the courage to lay bare the entire truth of the Bush Administration's secret policies.

If torture is winning on the field of rhetoric, it must be stopped in reality. Otherwise, we will be accepting America's status as an emptied democracy that cannot put an end to its own gulags.

Two weeks ago, an eminent Pentagon commission reported that the Iraqi security forces are engaged in brutal sectarian violence against civilians. The White House acknowledged the same findings in July. The Baker-Hamilton Report made the same findings almost two years ago. The torture runs deep. And it continues, with American advisers and $19 billion in taxpayer funding.

We must learn a painful lesson, that torture is not out-of-control behavior by an isolated handful of poorly-trained soldiers, but is integral , sooner or later, in any policies aimed at suppressing a popular insurgency. And secrecy is not limited to a handful of over-enthusiastic bureaucrats, but is integral, sooner or later, to any state pursuing an unpopular war. Torture and secrecy are embedded in America's policies in Iraq. And so we must paraphrase the French general's question to the media and public, by asking:

Should America stay in Iraq? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences.


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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-05-07 05:12 PM
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1. I've been arguing this for years
"Do you support torture?"

"They aren't doing that!"

"All of the evidence says that they are. Do you support it?"
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-05-07 05:12 PM
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2. K&R
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