Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wesley Clark on Torture

Wesley Clark writing in the Washington Monthly lays it out, straight, and clear.

Some excepts:

Torture is illegal, ineffective, and morally wrong. The United States has signed numerous treaties condemning torture and abjuring its practice. Those treaties are the law of the land. And, yes, waterboarding is torture: in the past, we convicted and punished foreign nationals for torture by waterboarding. There are no legal loopholes permitting torture in "exceptional cases." After all, those were the same excuses used by the torturers we once condemned.

No pussyfooting there.

The honor of the American man-at-arms is one of our most potent weapons. It is enshrined in the Geneva Conventions. It encourages our enemies to surrender to us on the battlefield. It protects any of our own soldiers who may have been captured. It encourages noncombatants and civilians to trust us and cooperate willingly. And it does not countenance the abuse of captives in our care.

We have known this from the outset of the Republic. General George Washington emphasized the proper treatment of Hessian prisoners during the Revolutionary War, reasoning that we might win them over. In many cases, we did just that. During the Civil War, we issued the Lieber Code, emphasizing that torture to gain confessions or information was never permissible. Ever since, it has been the standard to which the American armed forces have adhered.

I absolutely concur with that. The history is absolutely accurate. George Washington (against the desires and wishes of many of his staff and soldiers) stood resolutely against any abuse or torture of prisoners. By the end of the war, there were instances of Hessian troops murdering their non-coms and officers and surrendering en masse in the expectation that the American rebels would give them better treatment and better opportunity than they could reasonably expect in their own country and army. There are proud descendants of these same Hessian troops who live in western Pennsylvania to this very day.

Until now. Until weak, fearful leaders had so little belief in our values and principles that they gave away our birthright and proud claim in order to follow a shadowy emulation of the very dictatorships and tyrannies we had struggled against. For shame, America, that we aren't brave enough and strong enough to live our values.

Yup, that about sums up our current administration. We not only didn't turn those assholes out when we had the chance we re-elected those cowardly motherfuckers.

Now, please go read the whole thing.

big brass blog


Blogger mike vogel said...

Waterboarding isn't torture if the Bush Administration says it's not. That's why I decided to waterboard my kids in this video.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous tata said...

ooooo! minstrel, did you see what that man did to that babydoll?

5:47 PM  
Anonymous tw said...

One of the tragedies of this torture issue is the hundreds and hundreds of innocent people taken prisoner and then tortured. At a thousand dollars a head, it was big business for the gangs in Iraq to grab a bunch of farmers, call them al Qaeda and collect their bounty. Once labelled an enemy combatant you have no rights basically.

Showing us how confident they are about this torture issue, the Army has just banned the publication of four cartoons drawn by Sami al-Hajj called Sketches of My Nightmare. Al-Hajj was seized by the US military in 2001 in Afghanistan while covering the war for Al Jazeera and has been held in Guantanamo. For some reason, they don't want us to see what Sami's days are like. We won't let the UN or the Red Cross into our prisons either.

Ya, right, it's not torture!

10:13 PM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

Powerful words by Clark. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

9:07 AM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Why the hell did this administration ever start down this dark road? Are they the heartless criminals they appear to be? I say, yes they are.

This is the guy who should be running the military show in this country.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...


As MB says, not only were they not ridden out on a rail after their insanity ensued, they were re-elected.

What does that say about us?

7:35 PM  

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