Wednesday, December 10, 2014

U.S. Government Torture Isn't Something New

By Chris Rossini

Obama says:
"I recognize that there's controversies in terms of some of the details, but what's not controversial is the fact that we did some things that violated who we are as a people,"
Let's first separate the average American and the U.S. government. Yes, the average American does not perform horrendous acts of torture. The U.S. government, on the other hand, didn't just stumble across the idea in 2002.

We can go all the way back to Lincoln. Tom DiLorenzo points to a book by Mark Neely, Jr. called, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Libertieswhere Neely writes:
“[O]ne development in the system of military arrests showed an ominous possibility of degenerating into cruelty and brutality . . . : the rise of torture as a means of extracting confessions.”

“[T]he victims were not Southerners at all. They were Northerners suspected of deserting from the United States Army. . . . civilians became victims of military arrest . . . and, more so-called ‘political prisoners’ were created.”“Handcuffs and hanging by the wrists were rare, but in the summer of 1863, the army had developed a water torture that came to be used routinely.” This sometimes involved “a hose of water directed with full and powerful action against his naked person.”
You can then move ahead less than 50 yrs.

The new all-powerful U.S. State, that Lincoln ushered in, took to torturing foreigners next.

Stephen Kinzer writes in his book Overthrow about episodes when the U.S. occupied the Philippines:
"Newspaper reporters sought out returned veterans and from their accounts learned that American soldiers in the Philippines had resorted to all manner of torture. The most notorious was the 'water cure,' in which sections of bamboo were forced down the throats of prisoners and then used to fill the prisoners' stomachs with dirty water until they swelled in torment. Soldiers would jump on the prisoner's stomach to force the water out, often repeating the process until the victim either informed or died."
So this stuff is old hat.

Naturally apologists for the State will try to paint the latest horrendous episode as an anomaly.

Unfortunately, it is not.

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