Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Why Aren't These People In Prison Yet?

This is the process that the Far Right keeps claiming isn't torture.

Interrogators were instructed to pour the water when a detainee had just exhaled so that he would inhale during the pour. An interrogator was also allowed to force the water down a detainee's mouth and nose using his hands. "The interrogator may cup his hands around the detainee's nose and mouth to dam the runoff," the Bradbury memo notes. "In which case it would not be possible for the detainee to breathe during the application of the water."

"We understand that water may enter – and accumulate in – the detainee's mouth and nasal cavity, preventing him from breathing," the memo admits.

Should a prisoner stop breathing during the procedure, the documents instructed interrogators to rapidly tilt the gurney to an upright position to help expel the saline. "If the detainee is not breathing freely after the cloth is removed from his face, he is immediately moved to a vertical position in order to clear the water from his mouth, nose, and nasopharynx," Bradbury wrote.

Documents drafted by CIA medical officials in 2003, about a year after the agency started using the waterboard, describe more aggressive procedures to get the water out and the subject breathing. "An unresponsive subject should be righted immediately," the CIA Office of Medical Services ordered in its Sept. 4, 2003, medical guidelines for interrogations. "The interrogator should then deliver a sub-xyphoid thrust to expel the water." (That's a blow below the sternum, similar to the thrust delivered to a chocking victim in the Heimlich maneuver.)

But even those steps might not force the prisoner to resume breathing. Waterboarding, according to the Bradbury memo, could produce "spasms of the larynx" that might keep a prisoner from breathing "even when the application of water is stopped and the detainee is returned to an upright position." In such cases, Bradbury wrote, "a qualified physician would immediately intervene to address the problem and, if necessary, the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy." The agency required that "necessary emergency medical equipment" be kept readily available for that procedure.

The documents do not say if doctors ever performed a tracheotomy on a prisoner.

That's not even the worst data in the document, either.

Oh, but it's not torture. Oh, it's just like swim practice.

As if first, they actually can't see the difference between a venture you enter into of your own will and something being done to you against your will (re sex I consent to as opposed to rape: yes, these have some features in common; no, they are not the same acts); and second, as if they cannot see how motive and agency in fact changes events. If I am a solider working with my sergeant learning how to be a better soldier, and he is teaching me how to survive an enemy attack, the incidental hurts he may do to me are not likely to do me psychic damage. I trust him, I have put my trust in him, I have given my consent to these events, I know what we are doing is for a good end, my good end, our good end.

This is not the case when I am in my enemy's hands and he is torturing me. For fuck's sake. Why do they pretend they do not know this? I have not consented; what he is doing is a crime; he is harming me; I am not safe; he will not stop, and I cannot trust him to stop; what we are doing is not for any good end, and clearly not for my good end.

And not for a moment do I believe Republicans, for all their duplicity and smirks, do not understand this. Liz Cheney, for instance, can get on Faux News, and lie all she likes. She understands this absolutely. Darth Cheney knows it too.

It's why they have to make up their lies about waterboarding being like boys playing in the swimming pool and stress positioning being like fraternity pranks -- because they know they're in the wrong. If they were right they wouldn't have to lie.

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