How to torture like a Commie

Turns out that’s what we’ve been doing at Gitmo, and presumably elsewhere in the American gulag from Bagram through Abu Ghraib to those mysterious Eastern European holding locations and prison ships:

I’m old enough to have grown up on tales of brave Americans heroically withstanding such techniques. It was clear from those tales just who the good guys and bad guys were, and why.

Still is. They closed that sale with me when I was a kid, and this is one of those areas where I’ve never had reason to question the values that were inculcated into me in childhood.

So pardon me if my sympathies lie with the captives at Gitmo and Bagram and elsewhere, rather than with their captors who are supposedly trying to keep me safe. I was raised to know right from wrong, and to believe that America was on the side of right. It is the captors who are trying to keep me safe who are unAmerican.

What’s great is that some of the prisoners at Gitmo were apparently Chinese citizens opposed to the government of China. They had fled China and ended up not only imprisoned for years, but also treated to the exact same techniques the Chinese would have used on them. Link. I just can’t believe what we have become in the past 8 years.

On your side here Rufus T.

How much more evidence do we need to get GWB et al tried for war crimes?

It’s not the past eight years. There was a KGB agent who defected just around when Kennedy was assassinated. Due to fears it was Moscow that had him killed, he was tortured for about three years.

Name of Nosenko.

See the Family Jewels document of '73 to see what’s been going on.

Not exactly breaking news – see Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy, by Charlie Savage, Chapter 9, “The Torture Ban.” The no-visible-marks-left psychological torture methods – sleep deprivation, loud noises all night, heat and cold, shackling in stressed positions, threatening with dogs, defiling Korans, etc. – that our military has been documented as using on prisoners, e.g., at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, originally were invented by the North Koreans, and were successful in getting American POWs to appear in films falsely confessing to war crimes. U.S. interrogation experts (psychologists) studied it and determined the process is useless for any purpose but the production of false propaganda; no reliable information can be extracted, only what the subject thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

But the authorities appear to have lost sight of that distinction. The methods were used in the SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist, and Escape) program, in which American special forces personnel were put through such psychological torture, solely to train them to resist it if captured. After 9/11, NCOs who had played the part of foreign interrogators in such simulations (but who were not psychologists or interrogation specialists) were put in charge of real interrogations and expected to get reliable information from prisoners, and for the most part they didn’t.

I don’t care whether or not it’s breaking news. If there isn’t national outrage and uproar about this, then it hasn’t broken far enough, dammit!

“I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

As far as war crimes, there is a long tradition of the victors granting themselves immunity against such. See the firebombing of Japanese cities as an example.

Curiously (or perhaps not) laws and ethical standards are almost always something for the other guy to obey.


Yes. Even Robert McNamara, who as an officer with the Army’s Office of Statistical Control during WWII was one of the people involved in analyzing and perfecting LeMay’s bombing of Japan, said that if the US had lost, the people behind the bombing would have been tried as war criminals.

ETA: My cite is the excellent and disturbing documentary Fog of War

“LeMay said if we lost the war that we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he’s right. He… and I’d say I… were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side has lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?” – The Fog of War: 11 Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

Notwithstanding that, the United States repeated and even exceeded those campaigns (in sheer tonnage of ordnance dropped, if not casualties per ton or other equivalent metrics of the efficacy of destruction) in the Vietnam, and later Cambodian and Laos bombing campaigns. As Secretary of Defense, McNamara oversaw and approved of the bombing campaigns during the Johnson years, and while he had personal doubts about the morality and effectiveness of the campaigns, he was in public a vigorous supporter of their need.

In the more recent Errol Morris documentary, Standard Operating Procedure, he interviews a number of people involved with or present at the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal. The one professional (contract) interrogator that was there looked at the Army personnel performing “interrogations” with contempt, both in how they exceeded any kind of professional ethics for treating prisoners and for the complete lack of effectiveness of the techniques in obtaining useful information. As BrainGlutton notes, these techniques and those that proceeded them are really intended to extract confessions (valid or otherwise) from subjects rather than glean factual information.


Plus we have political commissars, in Justice, Iraq, and elsewhere, making scientific and hiring decisions based on party loyalty. Smells like a Commie rat to me.

This latest bit of news (not that it’s exactly new news) had me literally shaking with rage this morning.

These torture methods weren’t invented by the North Koreans, they were SOP in the Soviet Union, just read “The Gulag Archipeligo”. I’m not naive enough to believe that torture never happened in the past. American troops and American agents have used torture. But the unmitigated stupidity of the Bush administration in believing the could make torture SOP and not have that information become public…well, it’s just mind-boggling.

We’ve known that the use of torture was widespread, and we’ve known it for several years. But the sheer evil of literally using totalitarian communist torture techniques as a guidebook? And not just sheer evil, but sheer misguided evil? Misguided for about two or three dozen reasons. Didn’t anyone in the fucking Bush administration think for a moment about whether it was a good idea to literally follow Stalin’s blueprint for torture?

Of course they knew. They expected us to approve, they expected to exploit the 9/11 hysteria unto the seventh generation. Point of fact, many of us do.

I understand that the Chin Com’s also used more subtle means, like a curvaceous, buxom Chinese woman. In rare circumstances, both of them.

This news, while unsurprising, is nonetheless appalling. We have, in fighting monsters, apparently become them. Heads must roll when the next President takes office.

Hey, we get everything else from China; why not torture techniques?

Here is the quote:

It has not been established that these techniques are torture. Just because the US used the term torture in regard to these methods in the past, it does not mean that they reach the legal standard of torture. I think you should hold off making these pronouncements until a full investigation is completed along with appropriate legal proceeding where the legal issues can be hashed out. We are a nation of laws, not men (and their opinions).

Have you no shame?

I am sorry you think I should be ashamed just because I do not assume that crimes have been committed before a full investigation has been concluded, not to mention a trial. Maybe we should just assume that anyone accused of a crime actually committed that crime.