Saturday, March 18, 2006

Torturing the truth

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches:
"Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day," President Bush said recently.

Another time he said, "Some say that if you're Muslim you can't be free."

"There are some really decent people," the president said earlier this year, "who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people."

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.
This is hardly news, but it is nice to see the AP recognize it.

Now, it is actually true that some say "we do not torture." Unfortunately, that ain't so.

Prisoner murdered at Abu GhraibBefore and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees.
In the windowless, jet-black garage-size [former torture chamber], some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball. … the camp was the first stop for many insurgents on their way to the Abu Ghraib prison a few miles away.

Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it."
This, I suppose, is the application of Yoo's theory that torture only counts if it causes "physical pain… equivalent in intensity to… organ failure." To further obstruct justice:

Army investigators were forced to close their inquiry in June 2005 after they said task force members used battlefield pseudonyms that made it impossible to identify and locate the soldiers involved. The unit also asserted that 70 percent of its computer files had been lost.
I want my country back.