Sunday, May 31, 2009

2415 Torture

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I watched Bill Moyers Journal (PBS) this afternoon. They showed excerpts from the documentary movie "Torturing Democracy".

It's impressive. I thought I was aware of the machinations that went into the mess at Guantanamo, but turns out I didn't know the half of it. One thing I may have heard and forgotten is that in Afghanistan, huge rewards (enough to support a family or village for life) were offered for "terrorists" turned in to the US Army.

Think about that for a moment.

Catch some guy whom no one knows or likes, hand him over, and collect a small fortune, in a country torn by war and offering little in opportunity. "Hey, this is our chance to get rid of the village bum, and that guy who cheated me last week, and my stupid brother-in-law...." Many of the "terrorists" being tortured were nothing more than innocent shepherds. Under torture, they'd eventually admit to anything.

And it WAS torture. Watch the documentary. It's explicit. It carries warnings. It strips away the euphemisms - "enhanced interrogation" is torture, "water boarding" is drowning, just short of death, not at all like your kid brother throwing cold water in your face. It points out that the CIA didn't seem to understand the line between interrogation for information, and breaking a person to where he will write/sign/tape propaganda for you. When a person is broken, you can't believe anything he tells you.

I'd like to think that if we had known what was going on, we'd have filled the streets with protest marches. The sad thing is, we DID know enough. Not all of it, but enough. And we barely raised a peep.

Why were there no mall-filling protests?

Because we were afraid to protest. Afraid of being labeled "un-American", of being accused of supporting terrorism. Afraid of being hassled by the CIA and FBI, and punished by our neighbors and bosses. Afraid of surveillance and wire-tapping, and losing our jobs. Cheney did a good job of scaring us into silence. We became afraid of our own government, and forgive me if I've got it wrong, but isn't that what the Founding Fathers worked so hard to avoid?

It was easier and safer to look the other way.

The documentary in its entirety, in high quality video, is at It's in three parts. I've gotten through only part of the first part, so I don't know how long it is, but (judging by the excerpts) everyone needs to see it. Don't let apathy get in your way.

The sad thing is, I think Bush didn't think about it at all. He was in thrall to Cheney and Rumsfeld and a few others. A puppet of the evil puppet masters.

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