Thursday, August 04, 2005

Conservatives okaying torture

Watch them squirm and screech. Again, don't any of these folks have any principles?
  • National Review editor Rich Lowry insisted in his June 14 syndicated column that the "U.S. has nothing to be ashamed of" at Guantanamo. Lowry listed the interrogation methods reportedly used on al-Qahtani, according to Time: He was "deprived of sleep," "forced to watch a puppet show satirizing his involvement with al Qaeda," "made to stand for the national anthem," "made briefly to stand naked and occasionally told to bark like a dog." Lowry concluded, "This was as bad as it got at Gitmo."
  • Radio talk show host Michael Smerconish stated: "I've read the Time magazine piece. Where is the abuse? We shaved the guy's beard. We played Christina Aguilera music and we pinned 9-11 victim photos to his lapel. That's abuse?" [MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews, 6/15/05]
  • A Washington Times editorial also relied purely on the Time account to describe the treatment of Guantanamo detainees as merely "unpleasant": "Time reports that interrogators did a number of unpleasant things to al Qahtani to get him to talk. These included shaving his beard, stripping him naked, ordering him to bark like a dog, depriving him of sleep -- to the music of Christina Aguilera, no less -- and violating his 'personal space' with a vulgar female interrogator." [6/14/05]

Others offered more sweeping, non-specific judgments:

  • Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer dismissed allegations of abuse at Guantanamo as "rumor." [The Washington Post, 6/3/05]
  • Weekly Standard executive editor and Fox News contributor Fred Barnes said that "there have been FBI reports of rough treatment [at Guantanamo]. But nothing I would consider torture." [Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, 6/15/05]
  • Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed that "we didn't hurt anybody" at Guantanamo. [Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, 5/31/05]
  • Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claimed that Guantanamo abuse amounted to "unbuttoning blouses, women interrogators, things like that, but no touching or anything like that." He concluded: "So what are we talking about here? Some minor cases of abuse, that's what." [Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, 6/7/05]
  • Downplaying criticism of Guantanamo by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), a June 15 Wall Street Journal editorial [subscription required] stated: "Leaked ICRC reports have described conditions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as 'tantamount to torture' because indefinite detention is stressful." In fact, in the leaked report, ICRC documented other, more disturbing aspects of detainee treatment at Guantanamo as well, as detailed below.

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