Torture In Context: Update 2

spanish_inquisition

Darth Cheney’s ancestor getting the story

Last month, I wrote:

3. The “brainwashing” techniques from which the Bush Administration’s torture regime was derived was specifically DESIGNED TO PRODUCE FALSE CONFESSIONS FOR PROPAGANDA PURPOSES. HuLO-OH… (I still recall grainy black and white film of harried looking POWs from the Korean War, denouncing America; dozens of videos of John McCain doing the same thing in Vietnam have yet to see the light of day).

Having failed to produce any real evidence of Saddam’s “imminent threat” to US security, it had to be manufactured. These “confessions” were exactly what was needed to conflate Saddam with Usama bin Laden, Iraq with 9/11. Recall what W. said to Katie Couric in an interview on September 6, 2006:

“One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”

Last week’s passing of Captain Harold E. Fischer Jr, a celebrated and very tortured Chicom POW from the Korean War, provides some context. From his Obit in the NY Times:

He wanted me to admit that I had been ordered to cross the Manchurian border,” Captain Fischer told Life magazine. “I was grilled day and night, over and over, week in and week out, and in the end, to get Chong and his gang off my back, I confessed to both charges. The charges, of course, were ridiculous. I never participated in germ warfare and neither did anyone else. I was never ordered to cross the Yalu. We had strict Air Force orders not to cross the border.”

I will regret what I did in that cell the rest of my life,” the captain continued. “But let me say this: it was not really me — not Harold E. Fischer Jr. — who signed that paper.

It was a mentality reduced to putty.

(h/t Andrew Sullivan via Digby, whose post on this is not to be missed.)

“A mentality reduced to putty.” As in a substance that can be easily shaped and molded into whatever form one’s inquisitors desire.

I’ll repeat what I said earlier: Only a full vetting— and prosecution— of the Bush-Cheney torture regime and the role it played in launching two disastrous wars will allow the US to reclaim any credibility that it is a country dedicated to the rule of law.

Those who are earnest die not; the thoughtless are dead already. Blessed are they who have insight into the deathless state. Those who torture the living will hardly find happiness after death. -The Urantia Book

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