Thursday, September 18, 2003


So I never listen to NPR all the way through. But Salam was on Teri Gross's show! You can't help but like that guy Salam. He's just cool.

Another time I was listening to NPR and hearing about torture. Somebody was on there whose name I didn't catch claiming that we aren't torturing 'them' (presumably the poor schmoes at Camp X-Ray for the rest of their life)...Yes, when they are interrogated they might be drenched with water...given a cell where they cannot stretch out...without deprived of sufficient given drugs without threatened with the possibility of pain...

But that's not torture! Torture is actually physically harming someone, according to this guy.

That scared me...I thought: If that doesn't count as torture then it is OK to do this to anyone?

But yes--In American prisons people are put in solitary confinement in conditions that are basically torturous for human beings. So I guess the bar for what counts as torture is already a bit high.

One crucial difference is that people in prison presumably did have a fair trial, etc. This does not mean you can torture them by solitary confinement but it is a difference. It is--in my opinion--a violation of human rights to deprive people of light or to isolate them from human contact for many days at a time. Anything that can cause mental illness is as bad or worse than something that can cause physical harm. I'd personally rather have a bit of physical pain than have someone try and drive me insane.

Being threatened with pain seems very close to torture if it is not actually torture.

This both worries me and sickens me. He said something about the Geneva conventions and how most people don't worry if they aren't followed for terrorists. What about human rights though?

In any case there are many people who are in the camp who were dumb kids going off to fight a holy war and getting caught in the middle. Who don't know jack and are of no use to anyone. The thing is--by this time they are probably so intensely radicalized and if we let them out they will all become the poster children of the terrorists in their respective countries.

So does this mean they stay in prison for the rest of their natural lives? I thought human rights were rights that every human being has. I assume suspected terrorists are still human beings. I assume the idea that everyone has basic human rights is part of the belief system of anyone who supports the institutions of Western democracies.

Of course there is much to say about Iraqis...It is hard to think that human rights are not currently being violated there--even if not on a mass scale. Why isn't there more outrage about this?

God, please don't tell me that human rights are a political thing--only for the left or for liberals. Because if this is true--what is everyone else for? I shudder to think.


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