Friday, December 09, 2005

Dick Cheney and the Salem Witch Trials

So they (Egyptians following US orders) tortured Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi until he told them what they wanted to hear: that there were links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.


NYT: “The Bush administration used Mr. Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda included training in explosives and chemical weapons.”


I grew up across the harbor from Salem Massachusetts, and at the age of 11 attended the Salem Witch Museum for the first time, in which the testimony--both false and later recanted, and true—was induced from the accused by torture: pressing with huge stones, strangulation, starvation, immersion in icy water, and so on (timeline and testimony here. Even for children, the stupidity, inhumanity, and injustice, caused us horror. 300 years ago (in 1692), Governor Phips acknowledged that torture could not be used to extract confession, and we learned the evil of its usage in 1968—the year Dick Cheney had “other priorities” than service in Vietnam.


Dick Cheney and Condi Rice haven’t learned torture’s elementary lesson yet—that the suffering inflicted upon its victims is matched only by the condemnation heaped upon its practitioners. What kind of government with any pretense toward justice, legality, or humanity says “We’re going to torture you until you tell us the lies we want to hear”?


The evil they are practicing in the name of “protecting America” is making us unworthy of protection in the eyes of the world, and of history.

1 comment:

elendil said...

Do you think it might be similar to the witch trials in another way? That the purpose of both was not to get the facts, but the information they wanted to hear?

I hope you don't mind me self-advertising, but I have an entry on my blog covering the history of articles relating to the al-Libi case. There is also another case where the threat of torture was enough for a detainee to fabricate parts of their statement.