Friday, January 28, 2005

So every once in a while I tune into Air America during my brief commute to work. Today they were discussing interrogation tactics regarding islamic prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. This article sums up the happenings

Callers were outraged. Thought that this was the most horrible thing that could have happened, etc, etc... First off, let me say that I was no fan of some of the stuff that went down at Abu Ghraib. I will however, say that little of what I heard crossed the line into "torture". Abuse may have been a more appropriate term. Inappropriate abuse. Torture is keeping someone in a chicken wire cage for two months then slamming them down to the ground and sawing their head off while the camera rolls.

Now we have detainees in Guantanamo who were subjected to females rubbing various body parts on them, stripping in front of them, even rubbing fake menstrual blood on them. This has apparently gotten some of the listeners of Air America in a tizzy. You have got to be kidding me right? This is a joke? You can't seriously be faulting our military for using these tactics?

Let me let you whiners in on a little secret... these are interrogations! They aren't supposed to be fun or pleasant. If you can unnerve some potential Islamic fundamentalist by rubbing some tits on him, let me be the last person on earth to stop you. Hell, sign me up!

How can you even think this comes remotely close to abuse? I certainly would never advocate torture, but rubbing ink on some terrorist and telling him its menstrual blood. That's not torture, that's creativity. Holy Christ what would you whiners have our government do for interrogations? Give them an exfoliating mud bath and massage?

To me this seems like a case of going way to far the other way in reaction to the abuse that occured at Abu Ghraib. Like I said, I'm not advocating torture, I don't think that some of the things that went down in Guantanamo were appropriate, but for God's sakes, let's not go off the deep end and start calling every single uncomfortable situation for these detainees torture.


At 12:24 PM, Blogger Ricardo Grande said...

Sure we can...The fact is that the administration is continuing to treat these guys differently than they should be under the Geneva Convention. Under the Geneva Convention, none of this stuff is allowed, period. And don't give me any of that crap about them not being POWs, because that is ludicrous. As for rubbing (faux) menstrual fluid on them, I'm pretty sure that stuff is not kosher in Islam. It's certainly inappropriate. Whether it's abuse or torture seems to me like spliting hairs, we've clearly been doing both in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
The more interesting question to me is, who is ordering female soldiers to give lap dances to these poor bastards? Is that legal? Can they order them to give blowjobs? I'm fascinated by these questions, even though in the grand scheme of things they probably aren't that important. I'm just curious is all - nobody seems to be asking them!

At 1:52 PM, Blogger romeotheBT said...

From what I understand about the situation the women are "female contractors" and I'll agree, you want to talk about splitting hairs, calling someone an "enemy combatant" seems the same as saying POW. You're right on that. But here's the deal. I'll admit, I don't know what encompasses torture in the Geneva Convention, I'm not going to go through and read it. If these kind of interrogation techniques are not allowed... what is?

To me torture is causing someone sever physical pain for an extended period of time or irreperable damage to their body... Uday Qusay type shit. Kathy Bates taking a sledgehammer to James Caan's ankles. That's torture. Incurring mental discomfort on someone is NOT torture and that is where I draw the line. I mean this is the equivalent of making me watch hours and hours of FSU football. One man's dream Saturday afternoon is another's nightmare. I'm sorry, but rubbing titties and fake menstrual blood on some "enemy combatant" seems like a highly ethical way of extracting information out of him.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Ricardo Grande said...

Female contractors = strippers? :)
The Geneva Convention has definitions and rules about how POWs should be treated.

They are:
Prisoners of war are only obligated to provide names, ranks, date of birth, army, personal or serial identification numbers or equivalent information. Failure to do so may result in loss of special privileges. (Convention III, Art. 17)

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion may be inflicted. Prisoners who refuse to answer questions may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind. (Convention III, Art. 17)

Prisoners of war must be questioned in a language they can understand. (Convention III, Art. 17)

Therefore, this kind of stuff is verboten. People may think those rules are too restrictive, but then we shouldn't have signed it. Or we could pull out of them. In the meantime, those are the laws of the land...

At 2:38 PM, Blogger romeotheBT said...

Those are probably the reasons that they are deamed "enemy combatants" as opposed to POWs. I still don't have a problem with the techniques they have been employing.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Ricardo Grande said...

But what do you think about the change of title to enable these activities? Do you think it actively undermines the Geneva Conventions? That we follow rules when we want to, but not when it pleases us? I'm thinking of the time a couple of years ago when a US spy plane crashed in China and we demanded that they follow the Geneva Conventions...Does this impact the likelihood of people like the Chinese playing by the rules later?

At 3:06 PM, Blogger romeotheBT said...

I think that the change of title isn't as much of a problem as the vagueness behind "enemy combatant". I can recognize that terrorists are not conventional combatants, not in the traditional Geneva Convention sense, therefore a new classification is appropriate.

It seems that the problems people have with the term enemy combatant is that there doesn't seem to be any kind of definition behind it in regards to who is deemed an enemy combatant, how they will be treated, what recourses they have, etc...

If the Bush administration were to clear these things it may lend a little more legitimacy to the term. I know this kind of contradicts what I said in the post about it splitting hairs, but that really is because of the vague definition (or lack thereof) of enemy combatant.

It still doesn't change my belief that these type of interrogation techniques are competely appropriate.


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