Dispatches from the Creation Wars

If the Nazis Do It, It’s Torture

Andrew Sullivan catches the New York Times once again describing something done by another country as torture when they refuse to call the same thing done by our country by that term. In an obituary for a British spy who was tortured by the Nazis, the Times said:

As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen.

So it’s torture to beat a prisoner and subject them to hypothermia. If the Nazis do it, that is. Because our government did that over and over again over the last 8 years and the Times refuses to call that torture. Sullivan quotes the testimony of an American soldier who was posted at Camp Nama in Iraq, the secret prison camp run by Gen. McChrystal:

[The suspect] was stripped naked, put in the mud and sprayed with the hose, with very cold hoses, in February. At night it was very cold. They sprayed the cold hose and he was completely naked in the mud, you know, and everything. [Then] he was taken out of the mud and put next to an air conditioner. It was extremely cold, freezing, and he was put back in the mud and sprayed. This happened all night. Everybody knew about it. People walked in, the sergeant major and so forth, everybody knew what was going on, and I was just one of them, kind of walking back and forth seeing [that] this is how they do things…

Jeff explained that the colonel told them that he “had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in.” Jeff did not question the colonel further on how these assurances were given to those in command in CampNama. He explained that they were told: “they just don’t have access, and they won’t have access, and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating. Even Army investigators.” Jeff said that he did see Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq, visiting the Nama facility on several occasions. “I saw him a couple of times. I know what he looks like.”

He quotes more testimony from other soldiers who saw the same thing being done at Gitmo. But that’s not torture because the NY Times says it isn’t.