Monday, November 14, 2005

How did the U.S. go off the deep end on torture? For those who missed it, the New York Times carries today an extremely important op-ed piece explaining how the Pentagon adopted Red Army and Communist Vietnam torture tactics originally intended to break the spirit of U.S. captives; the techniques were derived from a secret Pentagon program designed to teach U.S. soldiers how to resist such techniques. Can this administration's degradation of human rights get any lower? Here are the key paragraphs:

"The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

"Fearful of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture. That was a classified program at Fort Bragg, N.C., known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners, SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody.

"The Pentagon appears to have flipped SERE's teachings on their head, mining the program not for resistance techniques but for interrogation methods. At a June 2004 briefing, the chief of the United States Southern Command, Gen. James T. Hill, said a team from Guantánamo went "up to our SERE school and developed a list of techniques" for "high-profile, high-value" detainees. General Hill had sent this list - which included prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, stress positions, physical assault and the exploitation of detainees' phobias - to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who approved most of the tactics in December 2002."

No wonder the U.S. has resisted joining a permanent international war crimes tribunal.

For the genesis of our pro-torture policy, check this out:
Doing Unto Others as They Did Unto Us - New York Times

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?