Monday, September 25, 2006

Words Have Meaning - What's Torture?

Words have meaning, or should have if we are to communicate.

Is torture defined by a clause in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment"? I would be humiliated if I was incarcerated. So should this be considered torture?

The FBI at Waco in the Clinton administration used sleep deprivation techniques. Was that torture?

The US Constitution’s 8th amendment has a much better definition of torture forbidding “cruel and unusual punishment”. Harsh interrogation and even “water boarding” is not torture. “Water boarding” does give a person the sensation of drowning (it is obviously “humiliating and degrading”), but it does not physically injure, maim, or kill a person. It is not unusual as a significant number of United States military personnel are subjected to this technique as a part of their training.

By the way, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions also forbids the “taking of hostages”.

I have a high regard for former Senator Bob Dole, but a person in the Army for a short period of time who then gets seriously injures is not a hero. A person who is courageous and kills the enemy, helping us achieve victory is a hero. We need more heros.


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