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Humiliation and torture

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2006

Quite some time ago, I grew tired of  repeatedly arguing that Christina Aguillera music, ridicule, and "invasion of space by a female" aren’t torture. So, now that Andrew Sullivan has declared the U.S. a "rogue nation" for failing to protect detainees from humiliation, I’ll just point you to this Protein Wisdom post, in which Jeff Goldstein mixes thoughtful analysis with acerbic wit — and I’ll quote some of the latter:

Sullivan pronounces on the debased status of a once great nation in response to a story noting that the Pentagon is rewriting its training manuals to strike Geneva Convention rules against prisoner humiliation.  Humiliation being a form of torture, the argument goes—which, were that true, would make junior high the equivalent (for emotionalist hysterics like Sullivan), of Abu Ghraib.

… Me, my knuckles drag.  So I stubborly persist in my ludicrous assertion that humiliation and torture are different animals, and that to conflate the two is, in the long run, to diminish torture and raise discomfort ("I’m offended!") to the same level.

RTWT. Including the update and comments. In the latter, you’ll find some important information:

Also missing from Andrew’s post is the fact that in signing on to the UN Convention Against Torture, the Senate specifically adopted a definition of torture consistent with the changes being made to the Field Manual now.

That’s why he refers to the US being a “rogue state,” rather than focusing on the Administration, though he probably hopes people won’t catch the distinction.

Along with fun comments such as:

I’m okay with the US being a rogue nation,

I think our flagrant disregard for international treaties, conventions, and our out-and-out bloodthirstiness gives us that Che Gueverra bit of panache that’s been so desperately lacking since the days of Ike. 

And this:

I’d comment on this, but I’ve got to see a lawyer about a wedgie.


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