torture this

Most of the time I can laugh at the Boston Herald's feckless opining. But today's editorial was over the top. The hack editorial team at the Herald has decided that there is not really any torture taking place at Guantanamo Bay, despite a report by the Red Cross.

The Herald smugly takes the soapbox to say that humiliation, solitary confinement, extreme temperatures and psychological mind games are just part of standard operating procedure, nothing to see here:

A photo accompanying the Times story even shows this nightmarish torture chamber: a solitary metal folding chair in a clean, white-walled room with a metal ring in the floor on which to attach a detainees' leg shackles. Oh no, not that!
It gets better with this non sequitur regarding healthcare workers:
The most damning allegation is that the facility's medical staff was feeding information to the interrogators about detainees' mental health and vulnerabilities. Hmmm. Who would you rather involve if you were being "tortured," Uday Hussein or a highly trained healthcare worker?
Nevermind that the healthcare worker in this instance is not looking out for the well being of the prisoner, but rather helping the screws exploit his weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Torture and fear are methods the state has, is, and will continue to use to extract information. Torture can be as simple as deprivation from basic needs - food, water, clothing, warmth - to playing psychological mind games to physically threatening behaviors to actual physical abuse. Different people have different breaking points.

If the Herald editorial writers were held incommunicado with limited (if any) access to basic needs; were kept in rooms without natural light, kept in rooms that were so cold that they had to hunch in a fetal position on the concrete floor to try to stay warm (the bare steel "beds" are too cold to sit on, let alone lie down on), rising only to stretch tense and tender limbs; if they were being examined by mental health experts watching for their breaking point, constantly being verbally and physically abused by guards, then would they see it as torture?

How about if they were held under such conditions as long - almost three years now - as prisoners have been held at Guantanamo Bay? It took me less than three days in jail to recognize torture techniques.

I guess you just had to be there.

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