John Yoo wrote the torture memo for the White House that said it wasn't torture unless it resulted in death, organ failure, or impairment of a major bodily function.
The issue raised in this debate are not hypothetical.
Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker has said he seen tapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib, and former prisoners and guards have separately told similar stories of children abused there.
The author of this piece says the true purpose of torture is to terrorize Iraqis into obedience, and more broadly as an example to those who might resist us in the future. That sounds harsh, but think about how Stalin used torture. He grabbed people at random, including the wife and son of one of his closest lieutenants. Stalin personally told the guy of their arrest and that they were on their way to a work camp in Siberia and asked him what he thought about it. He unhesitatingly said, "They must have done something to deserve it." Stalin had them released.
The guy in the famous Abu Ghraib Christ pose photo confirmed the purpose, and his release proves that he was no threat to the occupation. This is from an interview with him:
What did they ask you during the interrogations?
\"They wanted to know if I was fighting against the occupation. But also if I knew people in the area in which I lived: I had the impression that they were searching for someone who would become a collaborator, they wanted information. They wanted me to become \"their eyes\" in the region.
If they use force and police powers to coerce obedience overseas, it is not hard to see them taking the additional steps to do the same here, and the recent revelations about warrantless wiretaps on Americans shows that they are not restrained by law or morality here either--only by what the American people will take before they say enough and stop it.
John Yoo – Presidential Powers Extend to Ordering Torture of Suspect's Child
by Philip Watts
December 30, 2005, posted at revcom.us
John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.
This came out in response to a question in a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel.
What is particularly chilling and revealing about this is that John Yoo was a key architect post-9/11 Bush Administration legal policy. As a deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, John Yoo authored a number of legal memos arguing for unlimited presidential powers to order torture of captive suspects, and to declare war anytime, any where, and on anyone the President deemed a threat.
[relevant portion of the debate]
Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
[audio of this exchange: http://rwor.org/downloads/file_info/download1.php?file=yoo_on_torture.mp3 ]
This fascist logic has nothing to do with “getting information” as Yoo has argued. The legal theory developed by Yoo and a few others and adopted by the Administration has resulted in thousands being abducted from their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq or other parts of the world, mostly at random. People have been raped, electrocuted, nearly drowned and tortured literally to death in U.S.-run torture centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay. And there is much still to come out. What about the secret centers in Europe or the many still-suppressed photos from Abu Ghraib? What can explain this sadistic, indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear among people all over the world?
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