And Just What Do You Think Is Torture?

by James Glaser
May 6, 2002

Just for a minute think about someone putting you in chains. Wrist to wrist, ankle to ankle, and chain between both. They then take a canvas bag and strap that over your head. They drug you and throw you in a cargo plane and fly you half way around the world and put you in a cage with a concrete floor and chain link walls open to the elements and bugs. If you think about this, you will realize that treatment like this is nothing but torture.

Americans have always pictured American treatment of anyone captured in combat to be strict, but humane. America has always been the guys with the "white hats" and to see us at our worst is hard to take. Veterans of all American wars have known that torture is a part of warfare and we can and have done it with the best. It is just hard to see it out in the open.

The Taliban that we are taking to Cuba for the last five months in this manner were fighting for there country and religion. Maybe they were completely wrong in their beliefs and maybe their leader was a real fool to not turn over Osama bin Laden to our government, but they were fighters in a legitimant government. One that not only did America give billions of our tax dollars to, but one that we tried to make deals on oil pipe lines with.

The simple fact is that these Taliban have never been reported to be part of the terrorists that attacked us on Sept.11 and no matter how dastardly one thinks that they are, they are still human beings. According to American beliefs, all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights. Maybe that is only Americans and the rest of the world doesn't get those rights. Americans believe that people are innocent until proven guilty, again maybe that is only Americans.

In past years America, while trying to show the rest of the world how our way of living was superior, kept the cruel side of our personality hidden. The "black arts" of torture were taught to allies but hidden from the eye of the camera. Now with America the worlds only super power, we can show the rest of the world what we are really capable of and not have to worry about reproach.

Several months after these men have been brought to Cuba we find that some of them have been on such severe hunger strikes that they have had to be force fed by intravenous means. What are they striking for? They want, like all people in this world, to know what their future is. It is really such evil torture to keep these men in limbo, with no hope, no lawyer, and not even the rights America gives to dogs and cats.

Thirteen, of the more than three hundred detainees have now been reported to have mental illness problems. Well that is a big surprise huh? These people have no lawyer, no trial date, and now they have been told that even if found innocent, they will not be released. So much for hope, even for innocent people. Remember, this is the United States of America, doing this.

Some of these three hundred are from terrorists groups and should be treated as such. Many of these men were fighting the Northern Alliance in a civil war and there is nothing wrong in that, other than the fact that America was backing the Northern Alliance.

America has now expanded the prison facilities in Cuba and now more flights of prisoners are on their way. These men have no hope, no legal representation, are for all practical purposes in solitary confinement. This is not like WW2, war prison movies, where men living together could support each other emotionally to keep spirits going. These totally innocent men (by American Justice Principals) are being tortured no matter how you look at it. This treatment will only lead to more terrorists.

I love America and it really pains me to see the sickness of torture become a tool of our government. With repeated use, it gets easier and it will not be long before our own citizens experience this same treatment by our government.

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