Torture and the New York Times

Torture and the New York Times September 22, 2010

A must-read from Andrew Sullivan. the New York Times pointedly refuses to call the Bush-Cheney interrogation techniques torture, largely because some people don’t think they are torture. But when it comes to other people doing the exact same thing, the Times has no such scruples. In an obituary of a British spy who was caught by the nazis comes the following:

“As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen.”

Sullivan goes on to document how this technique was ordered by the US executive, and used by US soldiers, with the express approval of people like General Stanley McChrystal (instead of putting him on trial, Obama put him in charge). Read the post. You will see examples of things like this:

“[The prisoner] was stripped naked, put in the mud and sprayed with the hose, with very cold hoses, in February. At night it was very cold. They sprayed the cold hose and he was completely naked in the mud, you know, and everything. [Then] he was taken out of the mud and put next to an air conditioner. It was extremely cold, freezing, and he was put back in the mud and sprayed. This happened all night.”

Numerous prisoners were tortured to death using these methods. One 63-year old man was stripped naked, soaked in cold water, and kept outside in the 40-degree cold for three days, before he had a heart attack and died. Others were hospitalized for hypothermia, which was used a lot – one interrogator noted that they would “keep the prisoner outside, and they would have a polyester jumpsuit on and they would be wet and cold, and freezing”.

But remember, according to the New York Times, none of this is torture. It’s only torture when other people do it. It’s moral relativism on steroids.

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