1-26: No More Torture

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece.]

Torture: Why Is It in the News Again?

Headlines of torture bleed off internet sites today. Yes, torture. Suddenly that ominous, Medieval scare-word has returned to American vocabulary. Do not let barbarism define us.

Here is what people everywhere can read about the discussion in America.

Jordain Carney, The Hill

McCain to Trump: We’re not bringing back torture

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed back Wednesday against an effort by President Trump to revisit controversial enhanced interrogation policies, saying, “We are not bringing back torture.”

“The President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law,” McCain said in a statement. “We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America.”

Tim Mak, The Daily Beast

GOP Pushes Back on Draft Trump Black Site, Torture Order

A top Republican leader pushed back against a proposed presidential order that would reexamine more aggressive interrogation techniques against terrorist detainees, telling reporters that torture is illegal.

Employing waterboarding again “would take a change in the law, and Congress is on record,” Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “With respect to torture, that’s banned… we view that to be a matter of settled law.”

Media Matters for America

Joe Scarborough Shut Down By Sen. McCain after Claiming Sleep Deprivation Isn’t Torture

On the January 25 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough complained that “suddenly” so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” became “abhorrent” after public outcry over abuses during the George W. Bush administration. After it was reported that President Trump may sign an executive order that would “order a review of the Army Field Manual to determine whether to use certain enhanced interrogation techniques” again, Scarborough said that he “see[s] absolutely no problem about doing a study on enhanced interrogation techniques.” He added later in the segment that “there has been such a broad brush put across this entire topic of, quote, ‘torture.’ Suddenly sleep deprivation is torture.”

In the final hour of his show, Scarborough, who previously told a former naval intelligence official that he was wrong in saying that waterboarding doesn’t work, asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who experienced torture, to “define torture,” inquiring whether “sleep deprivation and other techniques like that” in fact “fit” McCain’s personal “definition of torture.” McCain shut Scarborough down, stating unequivocally that “extreme sleep deprivation is certainly not allowed and, again, it is very clear and laid out” in both the Geneva Conventions and the Army Field Manual …

A J Vicens, Mother Jones

Trump Is Reportedly Considering Reopening CIA “Black Site” Prisons:

A draft executive order follows a suggestion by his new CIA director that he might be open to torture.

President Donald Trump is considering reopening the notorious CIA “black site” prisons, undoing the ban imposed by President Barack Obama, after his new CIA director suggested he’d be open to using torture methods on detainees.

The administration’s plans were reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after the paper obtained a draft executive order titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants.” The order would roll back many of the restrictions on detainee interrogations and detention that Obama put in place, including one that gave the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees in US custody. But in his daily press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the draft was “not a White House document.”

The CIA’s black sites were a series of facilities located in various countries around the world where the CIA detained, questioned, and often tortured detainees with practices including waterboarding, confinement in small boxes, beatings, and extreme sleep deprivation.

I say again, do not let barbarism define us. The use of torture demeans us as a people. It is wrong.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

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