Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Only Thing Worse


I'd been on the fence about whether someone needed to go after the folks who disobediently destroyed videos of some CIA interrogations. I'm still on the fence--but I personally am glad that those videos will never surface.

That's because the videos are the only thing that could be worse for the image of the United States than the interrogation protocols this morning's Post lays out in black and white. The first three grafs alone are stomach-churning:

As the session begins, the detainee stands naked, except for a hood covering his head. Guards shackle his arms and legs, then slip a small collar around his neck. The collar will be used later; according to CIA guidelines for interrogations, it will serve as a handle for slamming the detainee's head against a wall.

After removing the hood, the interrogator opens with a slap across the face -- to get the detainee's attention -- followed by other slaps, the guidelines state. Next comes the head-slamming, or "walling," which can be tried once "to make a point," or repeated again and again.

"Twenty or thirty times consecutively" is permissible, the guidelines say, "if the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question." And if that fails, there are far harsher techniques to be tried.

The article goes on and on and on--so just imagine the uproar that would have resulted if videos of some of these interrogations still existed.

I still don't think the administration should go after any of the CIA interrogators, particularly since, as the Post article points out, CIA continually asked for guidance as to what was legal and what was illegal. It's just terrible that the previous administration's first resort was apparently thuggery.
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