Torture’s Mastermind

The American Conservative has put up a sneak preview of one of the stories from our Oct. 9 issue: Jim Bovard’s takedown of John Yoo and his book War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror. As deputy attorney general under Ashcroft, Yoo was one of the authors of the infamous “torture memos.”

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5 thoughts on “Torture’s Mastermind

  1. Tim September 24, 2006 / 1:15 am

    Alan Bock wrotes a great piece for Antiwar.com on torture called “Torture Chic: Sign of Decadence”. The nudge nudge wink wink, tongue in cheek, ‘soft on torture’ position signalled by the Bush administration is a display of “vicarious toughness” by pencil pushers who will never have to either conduct torture or ever, like American soldiers in the field, have to risk the consequences of getting caught by the other side.

    Torture-gate has been a massive own goal in the War on Terror that has done massive and wholly deserved, damage to America’s reputation around the world. Torture-gate has not only harmed to US reputation in the muslim world (which neocons, again in a sign of vicarious toughness, will write off as being impossible to get any lower anyway) but among America’s allies. Including those allies who actually do fight alongside American forces.

    Here are some words from a recent interview with General Peter Cosgrove, Australia’s former Chief of Defence Staff. Cosgrove is a vietnam veteran, commanded the Interfet peacekeeping force in East Timor and was Australia’s CDS (organisational equivalent to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in US terms) during the period of Australian deployments to Afghanistan and during the invasion of Iraq.

    ANDREW DENTON: Of course with these other issues, like the US alliance and Abu Ghraib, highly politicised issues within Australia. Not the same thing and you had to step through that minefield.

    PETER COSGROVE: Yep. Ah…Abu Ghraib was a real, that was a low point, a low point. I think THE low point is the men and women who lost their lives in the Sea King tragedy. But a low point was the Abu Ghraib thing. I couldn’t believe that…an element of the US armed forces would be involved in an improper way like that looking after detainees. I can understand that you don’t…mollycoddle people who are detained for one reason or another. But that’s light years away from maltreating them. And simply, as that emerged…it sent ripples…through all of the US armed forces, through the United States, through the whole alliance and understandably here in Australia. And…to that degree we were surprised, caught by surprise.

    ANDREW DENTON: In war, is torture a legitimate…

    PETER COSGROVE: No, absolutely not.

    ANDREW DENTON: Never?

    PETER COSGROVE: No, you don’t descend to that level. You’ve lost if you maltreat people. Whatever we do, whatever we gain from people, we’ve got to do so in a way which leaves our morality, our integrity, intact.

    Unlike John Yoo, Cosgrove had actually fought in counter-insurgency campaigns in Vietnam and Malaysia and was awarded the US Legion of Merit. I doubt either Mr Yoo or Mr Bush or anyone in the Bush cabinet has been awarded that.

  2. Tim September 24, 2006 / 12:08 pm

    Thanks to YouTube the 29 minute documentary “American Inquisition” focusing on torture-gate is online here..

  3. Tim September 26, 2006 / 10:18 am

    Came across the following quote from Thomas Paine.

    “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”

  4. Daniel McCarthy September 29, 2006 / 1:53 am

    By the way, I apologize for not getting your first comment posted more quickly. For the first time ever (or the first time that I’ve noticed, at least) the akismet spam filter that WordPress uses misidentified a legitimate comment as spam. I only spotted it when I went to “empty” the filter a minute ago.

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