A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror

††††††††††† This excellent book by Alfred W. McCoy, a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, demonstrates conclusively that the United States not only tortures people, but has had a half century long policy of teaching its allies abroad how to torture.Frighteningly, he demonstrates how cutting edge psychological research was used to systematically develop the disorienting techniques that have become all too familiar: hooding, stress positions, sleep and food deprivation, mock executions, real executions, and physical assault including waterboarding.

††††††††††† McCoy, furthermore, asks the tough questions: does torture work?His conclusions are remarkable and subtle.He says torture does not work if only a few high value targets are tortured.In order for torture to work, everyone needs to be tortured.The problem with this approach is that when everyone is tortured, then innocents along with the guilty will be caught in the net.Torturing innocents then undermines the political legitimacy of the torturing regime and creates opponents when previously there was only fear inspired neutrality.

††††††††††† Furthermore, McCoy contends, the people who do the torturing become laws unto themselves.He illustrates how the countries that tortured the most, are the ones most subject to military coups when they try to move toward democracy in the wake of the torture supported authoritarian government.

††††††††††† My own personal conclusion based on the book is that the administration of George W. Bush is a textbook example of how torture undermines democracy.Georgeís father, George H. W. Bush, was director of the CIA when it was assisting dictators around the world to stay in power by using torture and using psychological techniques to undermine the legitimacy of disfavored regimes, Chileís Pinochet and Iranís Shah, to name just two prominent examples.That is why the Bushes thought it was OK and were able to take the presidency even though Bush lost to Gore in the polls.The Bushes, like all torturers, think of themselves as above the law.Law is for wimps.They are tough guys.

††††††††††† Their only miscalculation was that people like Osama Bin Laden, who have lived in American sponsored torture regimes like Saudi Arabia, could recognize a coup díetat when they saw one.Bush ran on a war platform in 2000, lost the election, but took the White House anyway.Do you think the Arabs in the Middle East were fooled?If you think this analysis is off the mark, check out this little video clip of interviews with Palestinians who were imprisoned by Israel.There is no way to have a Jewish democratic state, itís an oxymoron.So, Jewish states can only be based on torture, force and aggression.http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=Oe2_1182459094

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