Monday, November 14, 2005

"Abuse Tantamount to Torture was National Policy"

That's a quote from a NY Times op/ed on evidence that Donald Rumsfeld signed off on SERE techniques for interrogating prisoners. I want to reprint all of this post from Hullabaloo, because I know some people (hubby) don't click on all my links, and because the information is that important.

But the upshot of Dibgy's post is that the DOD had been using SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) techniques to interrogate prisoners; SERE techniques were created to help our servicemembers resist torture by communists; the torture techniques that were being used on our servicemembers were "designed by communist control a prisoner's will rather than to extract useful intelligence."

From the NY Times op/ed he links
SERE methods are classified, but the program's principles are known. It sought to recreate the brutal conditions American prisoners of war experienced in Korea and Vietnam, where Communist interrogators forced false confessions from some detainees, and broke the spirits of many more, through Pavlovian and other conditioning. Prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, painful body positions and punitive control over life's most intimate functions produced overwhelming stress in these prisoners. Stress led in turn to despair, uncontrollable anxiety and a collapse of self-esteem. Sometimes hallucinations and delusions ensued. Prisoners who had been through this treatment became pliable and craved companionship, easing the way for captors to obtain the "confessions" they sought.

The prisoners we captured in war were being tortured to extract false confessions for use as propaganda. And Digby has another good theory as to why we were torturing them.

Read the op/ed for an example of the torture used, and for why this policy was in fact national policy and not the product of a "few bad apples." I had read Molly Ivins' op/ed on this yesterday, and can only end the same way she did.

Shame. Shame. Shame.

(updated to add Ivins link, thanks to Midnight Aloft)

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