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I always enjoy reading Mr. Babbin’s articles, even if I don’t become as passionate as he does about these things. I agree with him concerning the way the terms torture and atrocity are so carelessly thrown around by people discussing the treatment of the prisoners in U.S. custody. I said as much in a letter printed on January 10, 2005.
Mr. Obodie has some interesting questions, but unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) none of them are relevant. His most overriding mistake, the one that kills his argument, is stated in his first question, “How do you define torture?”
Unfortunately for his argument, the term torture has been defined literally to death by several English language dictionaries and the Lord alone knows how many international compacts, including the absolutely horrible Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN General Assembly -26 June 1987). Nothing that is transpiring at Gitmo fits the existing definitions of torture. Therefore, the rest of his questions are superfluous.
One final point has to be made. That is that everything that is transpiring at Gitmo is transparent. It is open to scrutiny both domestic and international. The current administration has taken the position that the detainees are not eligible for certain rights and protections available for other types of offenses against the US and this is the only point that may be debatable. The fact that these detainees are not being “tortured” is not. Even the International Red Cross could not justify calling the prisoners’ treatment torture. They had to refer to it as “tantamount to torture”, similar to saying that the Soap Box Derby is tantamount to the Indianapolis 500.p>Mr. Babbin’s response was equally clear and concise. He is knowledgeable concerning the subjects of which he rights. Thank you for carrying him as a regular contributor. br> — Michael Tobias