Saturday, May 9, 2009

Courage to say so

From a New York Times obit:

Col. Harold E. Fischer Jr., an American fighter pilot who was routinely tortured in a Chinese prison during and after the Korean War...

From April 1953 through May 1955, Colonel Fischer — then an Air Force captain — was held at a prison outside Mukden, Manchuria. For most of that time, he was kept in a dark, damp cell with no bed and no opening except a slot in the door through which a bowl of food could be pushed. Much of the time he was handcuffed. Hour after hour, a high-frequency whistle pierced the air.
At a distance of fifty years and when the victim was an American, it's easy to see that sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and even some extreme (added) psyops audio constitute torture.

Why is it so hard for big media to speak the obvious truth about Bushist policies of interrogation by torture? Long after telling the truth matters most, I'm sure they'll find their courage.

Times photo credit to USAF, therefore public domain.

Update (5/12): The Boston Globe cribs its obit from the Washington Post, and it is curiously expurgated of anything more than an oblique reference to torture ("an incredible and strange ordeal").


globeisatrocious said...

how grotesque to compare the sacrifice of this man who freed so many Koreans from the long nightmare that came to grip their Northern brethren in the clutches of Communism to the cowardly killers of US citizen detained in Guantanamo, where three squares has generated many paunchy guts.

lovable liberal said...

My entire point was what ought to be the consistent meaning of the word torture. You of course are too unable to examine your own blindness to understand.

In doing so, you've acknowledged your double standard. Our guys? Good guys. Torture is a war crime, even well short of waterboarding. Their guys? Good, bad, evil, who cares? Torture is a necessity.

I believe in law as the only way people can live in (relative) peace. You believe in the tribe or, rather, your tribe. Tribalism leads inevitably to genocide, only you reassure yourself that it's not actually genocide since the others could not actually be human beings.

globeisatrocious said...

Western civilization is actually intensely interested in other 'tribes,' in other cultures, and studies these ad nauseum in all its centers of liberal higher education. Until recently, the purpose of this endeavor was to learn all that was good that these had to offer and add it to our culture. That created a standard against which other cultures were judged. Life was sweet. But the destruction of those standards makes it perfectly acceptable to state that a Chinese culture is incompatible with individual human rights or Islamic mindset irreconcilable with democracy. So relevatism erases good and bad guys and the end point of this is that torture of an America fighting for freedom by Communist neanderthals can be equated to harsh interrogation of a person who brings down the twin towers.

lovable liberal said...

That's not of course what I'm saying at all, but you persist in your inability to see that what the Chinese did was actually less harsh than what we did. You even reflect the bullshit Bushist distinction without a difference between 'torture' and 'harsh interrogation'.

That is moral relativism. You're the one pushing it.

Are you one of Eric Fehrnstrom's wannabe assistants? Not much to do right now, I know, but you've mastered the peculiar ability to spin your own bullshit that is so characteristic of conservative press operations.

globeisatrocious said...

No I am Mitt Romney himself.

The CIA sought specific authorization of specific techniques it wished to inflict on specific individuals for specific reasons related to the specific information the agency believed they possessed and would not give up easily in the absence of resort to the specified techniques.

Get real about facile comparisons of apples and oranges

lovable liberal said...

Hiya, Mitt. What are your core convictions today?

The CIA, under direction of the White House (okay, Darth Cheney), went through the bureaucratic motions of CYA to get memos from the rest of the executive branch pretending to justify torture. They had already been directed to "take the gloves off."

No matter the motives or putative justifications you may posit, it's still torture. The Chinese tortured this U.S. pilot that both of us care about; the U.S. tortured these terrorists that neither of us care about - and, actually, we did worse than the Chinese. What I care about and you don't is our use of torture. You fail to recognize the most basic moral rule, the golden rule.

I'm thrilled to see that you've tried to move on from 'it's not torture if we do it' to 'it's not torture if we do it to really bad guys' to 'it's not torture if we do it with superficial legal processes and controls in place'. That means some neurons in your brain are struggling to be free of the double standard your ideology is imposing on them.

Still, not one of those arguments would have flown at Nuremberg.

lovable liberal said...

gia, if you believe torture is justified, own up to it and call it torture instead of some euphemism like 'harsh interrogation'. That would address the point of my original post.

But this bullshit two-step to protect the delicate sensibilities of right-wing torture apologists such as you is too humorlessly laughable to tolerate unrebutted.

globeisatrocious said...

>he Chinese tortured this U.S. pilot that both of us care about; the U.S. tortured these terrorists that neither of us care about - and, actually, we did worse than the Chinese. What I care about and you don't is our use of torture.

Culturally, the Chinese can't care about torture? That patronizes them and justifies their use of it - our harsh interrogations to elicit actionable intelligence do not equate with months of mindless noise torture for the "foreign devil.".

>too humorlessly laughable to tolerate unrebutted.

Andrew Sullivan tortured-prose-of-the-day award

lovable liberal said...

Culturally, the Chinese can't care about torture?Read it again. You got this out of your imagination, not anything I said. I said that you don't care about torture, and that has nothing to do with ethnic culture, only with your ideological culture.

That patronizes them and justifies their use of itIf I had patronized them, that would justify their torture of someone else who happened to share my nationality? Wow. Do you really believe that? Tribal was an understatement.

The duration of Chinese torture is one way theirs was worse than ours, so you did actually make a good point. Blind pig, stopped clock, etc.

Was my last sentence above your grade level?