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The problem with the word “torture” is that it has been so artfully corrupted by some commentators that we now find ourselves at a loss to describe the kinds of activities that the al-Qaeda interrogation manual graphically recommends. Now that the term “torture” has been put in one-to-one correspondence with such admittedly unpleasant activities as punching, sleep deprivation, a handkerchief pulled over one’s face and loaded with water, searches by women upon sensitive Islamic men or the disrespectful handling of Korans — what on earth do we call gouging people’s eyes out?p>There are two answers to that question. The first is that we call that “torture,” as well, and equate such acts as gouging out a person’s eye, or drilling a hole in their arm with a power drill, with such “torture techniques” as those complained of by Mahjid Khan, a Gitmo detainee who had been charged by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with the mission of blowing up several gas stations in the Washington, D.C. area. Facing his Combatant Status Tribunal late last month, Mr. Khan complained of the “mental torture” he was suffering at the hands of his captors. This mental torture, according to his testimony, came as a result of being forced to endure “cheap unscented soap,” “noisy fans,” and half-inflated balls in the recreation yard that “hardly bounce.” br> The second answer is that which Mr. Surber posits. He says: br> /p>
Answer: we call it nothing. My fearless prediction is that not a single human rights organization will seriously take the matter up. There will be no demonstrations against these barbaric practices, often inflicted upon Muslims by other Muslims, in any of the capitals of the world. Not a single committee in the United Nations will be convened nor will any functionary in the European Union lose so much as a night’s sleep over it. The word for these activities — whatever we choose to call it — will not be spoken.br> The second part of Mr. Surber’s answer, though, which must be supplied here, is this: regardless of what we decide to call such practices, the U.S. will be blamed for their being carried out. No matter what America does, and despite our holding ourselves to a higher standard of behavior than any other nation in existence, there will be those who see the U.S. as the greatest evil in the world, and as the source of all the world’s malcontents, criminals, and problems.
We need to understand that it does not matter how much we change our ways of doing business, or how much the hands of our military and other terrorist-fighting organizations are tied in the name of not provoking our enemies further. Those we are fighting in the Global War on Terror are not cut from the same cloth as the militaries against whom we have done battle in the past. They follow no rules but their own, and, rather than being reciprocated, no good deed we perform — and no concession we make — will go unpunished.
The United States formally banned “torture” last year in the foolishly naive hope that doing so would cause our enemies to be less brutal when our own citizens were captured. If last year’s case of Kristian Menchaca and Tom Tucker, and this year’s case of Joe Anzack, Alex Jimenez, and Byron Fouty, do not cause us to open our eyes to the fallacy inherent in such belief, then we really are in such great denial about the enemy that we are facing in the global war on terror that we have little, if any, hope of prevailing.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?