Today’s Los Angeles Times frontpage story on the Bush administration’s torture documents was curious for one thing. It didn’t use the word torture until almost the very end of the story (and not on the front page).
Near the end, it reads: “The memo outlined an escalating series of interrogation methods sometimes used in concert, and was written months after the Justice Department had issued a December 2006 document that declared “torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms.”
Of course, this fine statement is accompanied by a sidebar containing descriptions of American-approved waterboarding, stress positions, cramped confinement, walling (throwing against a wall), and face slapping, among other things.
The Times goes onto describe torture under supervision of physicians: “[The document] also required that a physician be on duty in case a prisoner didn’t recover after being returned to an upright position … ‘the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy …”
The decision, the Times reported, “was met with criticism among conservatives and CIA veterans, who warned that the highly detailed documents would serve as a counter-interrogation training manual for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”
This claim takes readers, and the American people, for fools. As has been repeatedly shown on this blog — and in other places — al Qaeda has long had materials in their manuals on what kinds of torture to expect. (See yesterday.)
In any case, human history has shown us there’s very little one can do in the way of training to make one invulnerable to torture.
More succinctly, the complaints against revealing torture methods because it aids the enemy are an IQ test. If you accept them, you flunk. Here’s why: If the United States isn’t in the business of torturing its prisoners anymore, as Barack Obama says, then putting the methods of torture in the sunlight aids the enemy not at all.
Link to full story here. Not pointed at the LA Times because while the hardcopy of the newspaper is a delight, the online edition’s load times are atrocious. In Tribune company’s grasping for every last penny on the Internet, it has made the Times website one of the most unbearable, as a total bandwidth hog, on the Internet. By comparison, the New York Times seems almost as simple and clean as this blog.