Torture is a blunt instrument
February 20, 2008 10:37 AM Subscribe
Five myths about torture
posted by Kirth Gerson (54 comments total)
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In a Washington Post column, Darius Rejali
, author of Torture and Democracy, explains why five beliefs about torture are wrong. In a Harper's interview
, he answers six questions. "Yes, torture does migrate, and there are some good examples of it both in American and French history. The basic idea here is that soldiers who get ahead torturing come back and take jobs as policemen, and private security, and they get ahead doing the same things they did in the army. And so torture comes home. Everyone knows waterboarding, but no one remembers that it was American soldiers coming back from the Philippines that introduced it to police in the early twentieth century."
"The historical record is clear. Waterboarding is torture, and yes focusing on just waterboarding is a distraction. Waterboarding is serious, but only the tip of the iceberg. There have only been three documented cases of waterboarding, but the CIA has subjected at least 30 others to “enhanced interrogation” as Director Hayden says, so there are other kinds of techniques as well. And there are unaccounted prisoners last seen in US custody as well as secret prisons out there where these things continue to happen."