Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Hess: Torture ‘Technically Illegal’

A front-page story in the Washington Post says our generals in Iraq were warned [in a memo] that torture was illegal. Heck, they ORDERED the torture. What’s more, torture is as American as apple pie. It goes back to the early settlers and their witch hunts. One common tag for it is the third degree, and our cop shows routinely feature it with approval. One of the first reactions of our pundits to 9-11 was to recommend the torture of suspects.

We’re about to get a new attorney general who maintained that anybody suspected by the president has no rights at all. The Red Cross does not agree. It told our government so emphatically after visiting
Ironically, the New York Times refers today to the abuse of prisoners in Fidel Castro’s jails. Dissidents who were just released told of solitary confinement in cells six steps across -- light left on all night -- crude plumbing - reading matter and television censored. Outrageous -- but no comparison was drawn with the squirrel cages at Guantanamo.

It needs to be said that Castro has no right to lock up dissenters, even if they were encouraged by a government in Washington that has been trying to kill Castro off and on for 45 years. Yet it must also be noted that he was the only Latin American leader to have challenged Yankee imperialism. And survived. Today, even though Venezuela is a big supplier of oil, Washington’s campaign to overthrow Hugo Chavez has continued -- with strikes, hit squads and all the rest -- with the staunch support of the New York Times.
This said, Castro is wrong to limit democracy. There has got to be a better way.