It Is Time to Wake Up America
by James Glaser
The Washington Post reports that last month, 776 Americans were wounded in Iraq. Add this to the 72 Soldiers and Marines killed over there, and we are now having over 200 American casualties a week. The number of troops wounded gives us a better picture of the amount and ferocity of the combat going on in Iraq. Body armor and armored vehicles keep the number of Americans killed at an all time low for American forces in combat. The number of wounded gives us a better count of what is really going on.
If President Bush is right, and his war in Iraq continues all the way through his term in office, (term ends 20 January 2009) we could have another 23,000 plus American troops hors de combat. That would be the number while George Bush is still in office. We will lose thousands more if we wait until 2009, before we start thinking of an exit strategy.
A Japanese officer was tried in 1947 for carrying out a form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II, and was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor.
Waterboarding is a type of torture used in coercive interrogations or for punishment. In modern practice it simulates drowning and produces a severe gag reflex, making the subject believe his death is imminent while ideally not causing permanent physical trauma to him.
The modern practice of waterboarding was used by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge  . The technique was characterized in 2005 by former CIA director Porter J. Goss as a "professional interrogation technique", involves tying the victim to a board with the head lower than the feet so that he or she is unable to move. A piece of cloth is held tightly over the face, and water is poured onto the cloth. Breathing is extremely difficult and the victim will be in fear of imminent death by asphyxiation. Journalists Brian Ross and Richard Esposito described the CIA's waterboarding technique as follows. The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last over two minutes before begging to confess.
Waterboarding is just one of the torture techniques that our President, the President of the United States, has had our troops use to torture prisoners in our custody. Congress just passed one law that allows President Bush to charge anyone, foreigner or American citizen, with being "enemy combatants" or anything he wants. George Bush can keep them in prison forever if he wants. No charges, no lawyers, no courts, but the ability to torture. There are over 500 detainees in our prison in Cuba today, and they have been there for years. Only ten of those prisoners have ever been charged with a crime.
That is the America we are living in today, and it only took George Bush five and a half years to get us to this point. That is about the same amount of time it took Adolph Hitler to subvert German law. We know what Hitler did with his new powers. We can only hope and pray that George Bush does not lead us down that same path.
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