Sunday, June 19, 2005

What torture really looks like

The part that bugs me most about all the hand wringing over whether our troops at Gitmo are handling a book in a fashion that the detainees who were captured trying to kill our troops elsewhere in the world find acceptable and calling the treatment those detainees receive - which is unparalleled in history in its fairness and control - "torture" is the absolute lack of acknowledgement when we see it for real. From the New York Times, ladies & gentlemen: (Or here if you'd rather not go to the NYT.)

::::::::KARABILA, Iraq, Sunday, June 19 - Marines on an operation to eliminate insurgents that began Friday broke through the outside wall of a building in this small rural village to find a torture center equipped with electric wires, a noose, handcuffs, a 574-page jihad manual - and four beaten and shackled Iraqis.

The American military has found torture houses after invading towns heavily populated by insurgents - like Falluja, where the anti-insurgent assault last fall uncovered almost 20 such sites. But rarely have they come across victims who have lived to tell the tale.

The men said they told the marines, from Company K, Third Marines, Second Division, that they had been tortured with shocks and flogged with a strip of rubber for more than two weeks, unseen behind the windows of black glass. One of them, Ahmed Isa Fathil, 19, a former member of the new Iraqi Army, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed.

In an interview with an embedded reporter just hours after he was freed, he said he had never seen the faces of his captors, who occasionally whispered at him, "We will kill you." He said they did not question him, and he did not know what they wanted. Nor did he ever expect to be released.

"They kill somebody every day," said Mr. Fathil, whose hands were so swollen he could not open a can of Coke offered to him by a marine. "They've killed a lot of people."

THIS is what torture is, folks. Playing music to keep someone awake is only torture for people who have no conception of what torture is. What has happened at Gitmo is that people who are being interrogated since they were captured in armed opposition to Coalition troops have been made uncomfortable. Uncomfortable. NOT tortured. NOT shocked and beaten for 20 days. And most assuredly not killed.

Where are the pictures of those men? Where's the endless parade of news commentators and reporters and so-called non-partisan organizations like Amnesty International screaming about the conditions these men were forced to endure? Where's the outrage over the deaths - yes, the deaths - of those men who were dragged into that room and never saw the outside of it again? We're still hearing the desperate screeching of anti-Bush rhetoric spewing from the mouths of people like Senator Dick Durbin over Abu Ghraib to this day. Where's the Senator calling for those people who are responsible for what happened to a 19-year-old Iraqi to held to account? Did I miss it because he was speaking so during after-business hours grandstanding on the Senate floor?

Or did I miss it because the Senator hasn't bothered to say any such thing. After all, George Bush and the Pentagon weren't staffing this place with people whose actions I'd find indistinguishable from Nazi guard at Buchenwald.

Every jackass who has supported the notion that Gitmo is a torture center - and I'm talking to you, Kos - should be prepared to step up to the mic and admit that the reality of the situation is that what's happening at Gitmo is. not. torture. That the terrorists we're fighting - excuse, me: that the rest of us are fighting - are not the minutemen of a noble Iraqi resistance. They're the enemy. They are the new Nazis. They are the new Khmer Rouge. Or, better yet, let's just call them what they are. They are islamofacist terrorists. They don't want to negotiate, they don't want to live in peace. They don't care about the Iraqi people or the Afghani people, or any other people, for that matter. They care only that they get to call all the shots for everyone else and anyone who feels different is good only for killing.

You don't win these people over by closing a prison. You don't win them over at all. They'll stop only when they see their tactics aren't going to work and that we're not going to back down. So these jerks who keep handing them soundbites and hopes that our will is going to crumble - and I'm talking to you, Durbin - need to own up to the fact that they're wrong about Gitmo. Then, if they can't be bothered to help out in the effort, they need to sit down, shut up, and let the adults get to work.

Thank you Power Line for bringing this to my attention.