The wingnuts got all bent out of shape when Dick Durbin made a comparison across time and cultures. The guy in the letter below from the Omaha World Herald goes all the way back to the Vietnam War to find some rationalization for his approval of torture. This misplaced focus must have been learned from President Bush’s pursuit of one guy (Saddam) at the expense of pursuing another guy (Osama bin Laden) who is really more relevant.
So let’s unpack this letter. As always, wingnut in black. Spocko in Blue
After reading several Pulse letters about prisoner abuse at Guantánamo Bay and other military prisons, I felt it was time to reply to all those bleeding hearts who say our fine and dignified soldiers are mistreating the poor, pitiful terrorists.
Note how he doesn’t name a specific letter? Typical Rush Limbaugh wingnut generalization. Because when you complain about “several letters” you don’t have to cite a specific letter where you can be proved wrong in your characterization of it.
Listen up, America. Have you forgotten the Vietnam War? Do you have any idea what American prisoners of war were subjected to?
No I haven’t forgotten the Vietnam War. Why? Have the Vietnamese been flying to Iraq to teach torture techniques to our soldiers?”
They suffered horrors at the hands of their captors - day in, day out, year after year. And people have the nerve to write letters saying how terrible the terrorists are being treated. What a joke.
Again, what does this have to do with the current torture in Iraq? He wants acts of torture from a previous war to enrage people so much that they torture people who have nothing to do with THAT war and most likely have nothing to do with THIS ONE. What kind of twisted revenge logic is that?
As a Vietnam-era veteran, I was proud to serve. Any abuse the Viet Cong received was well-earned. And as for the laughable idea of "abused terrorist prisoners," I say to the U.S. military: Do whatever it takes, by whatever means, even turning a blind eye when you have to, to do the job you are there for. And pay no attention to what whiny Americans say about "terrorist abuse."
James W. Boles, Omaha
Note how he calls himself a Vietnam-era veteran. He didn’t say where he served, what he did or why he was discharged. Maybe a friend died in prison like one of the 28 who died at the hands of Americans in Abu Ghraib. (This data is from the Army’s Schlesinger report). Or maybe he spent the war sitting in the Texas National Guard in Bush’s Champagne unit. “Any abuse the Viet Cong received was well-earned.” I’m sure that ALL the Viet Cong who were caught and abused were guilty. I hope that the American soldiers in Vietnam had better information about the guilt of their captives BEFORE they abused them, than we do on the people in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. What, you say you didn’t read about the people wrongly accused who were in Gitmo because some war lord wanted the bounty for turning them over to the Americans? That the International Red Cross said that 70-90 percent of the people in Abu Ghraib didn’t belong there? What about the people who have been released? When someone from the Army finally admits these people were wrongfully imprisioned and tortured, do you now say that their abuse was “well-earned?”
He says to the military: Do whatever it takes, by whatever means, even turning a blind eye when you have to, to do the job you are there for
Now, first of all, which job are you referring to? Finding Osama Bin Laden? Finding WMDs? Helping the Iraq people govern themselves? Securing the ammo dumps?
Now I could talk about the failure of torture from a moral perspective. But clearly he is fine with any kind of abuse of people who may or may not have ANYTHING to DO with terrorism. To him that is just the price that people pay for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (BTW, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that this guy calls himself a Christian.) If we don’t want to go the moral route we can look at the negative POLITICAL effects of the world finding out we abuse and torture people. Mark Danner has pointed out in his book “Torture and Truth” that the revelation that America is torturing people means we get LESS information from other countries about potential terrorists. I also heard a gentleman stand up at a Danner book reading and talk about being tortured. “After the first week I told them anything. I just made up stuff to get them to stop.” Perhaps if James W. Boles is truly concerned with torture of American soldiers in Vietnam he should work to STOP it happening to others rather than ENCOURAGING Americans to torture.
Finally, he talks about wanting the U.S. military to do the job they are there for. I’m guessing he wants them to be successful. Yet he wants them to use techniques that have been proven ineffective, immoral and politically unwise for the success of “their job”. And, if I may be so bold, he is also asking them to defy his President who said we don’t do that. If I can’t appeal to any kind of moral sense or political insight, I’ll just appeal to his desire for the military to be successful. Torture is not the most effective technique for the Army to do use.
[A quick howdy to the most wonderful GradeSchoolTeach. Hope you have a great week free from "The Hungry Roamers"!]