Why Torture is Bad. Part II

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For years I’ve been against the death penalty.  Not because I think everyone is redeemable or deserves mercy or whatever.  No, I’m against the death penalty because of what it does to US.  And, more intensely, to the executioner.

I have the same concerns about torture, squared.  After all, we trained hundreds, probably thousands of people to torture at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and who knows what other secret places. Someday they have to come home, take jobs, go out to the neighborhood bar, get involved in traffic altercations, take lip from your (hopefully temporarily) smart mouthed seventeen year old son or daughter.  How will they react?

To some extent we know this.  During the Cuban war a century ago, despite the attempts of higher ups to stem it, many soldiers used torture to extract information or to punish insurgents.  A favorite method was the “Water Method” known today as waterboarding.  And those soldiers, trained to torture, came back and used those same methods to extract confessions from those they were sure were guilty (and probably, sometimes, were actually guilty), and to punish teenagers that smarted off, and to keep blacks in their place, and to put the Jews in theirs, and to keep Catholics the hell out.  They protected each other and understood and sympathized when they went a little too far with a suspect or a smartass or a girlfriend or a child.

Now we have thousands of torturers coming home to America.  They were honorably discharged and police departments or anyone else see them as just another veteran, certainly a plus on any job application.  But inside is someone Bush, Cheney and Company caused to be trained to take people off into secret places and torture them.

Think about that the next time you run into a cop who seems to have a bad case of  ‘roid rage.

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