Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New book reveals the Bush administration has doctors sign off on torture

The link above and the excerpt below are from a Time magazine article on a new book by Dr. Stephen Miles called Oath Betrayed. The book details, from thousands of FOIAed government documents, how George W. Bush and Don Rumsfeld authorized doctors to examine prisoners at places like Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib before the prisoners were totured. The doctors were also asked to give recommendations, based on the individual, as to the type of torture that would be most effective.

Sometimes you come across stories and they leave you jaded, slipping towards cynicism. This story just made me sick and angry. We are fighting a war with made up rules.

One of those rules was that a prisoner's medical information could be provided to interrogators to help guide them to the prisoner's "emotional and physical strengths and weaknesses" (in Rumsfeld's own words) in the torture process. At an interrogation center called Camp Na'ma, where the unofficial motto was "No blood, no foul," one intelligence officer testified that "every harsh interrogation was approved by the [commander] and the Medical prior to its execution." Doctors, in other words, essentially signed off on torture in advance. And they often didn't inspect the victims afterward. At Abu Ghraib, according to the Army's surgeon general, only 15% of inmates were examined for injuries after interrogation.

Fighting the "war on terror".
After a while, you get numb reading these stories. They read like accounts of a South American dictatorship, not an American presidency. But we learn one thing: once you allow the torture of prisoners for any reason, as this President did, the cancer spreads. In the end it spreads to healers as well, and turns them into accomplices to harm.

This might be George W. Bush's America but it's not mine.

1 comment:

Katharine said...

You know, I had thought that life under the Bush administration couldn't get much scarier. I was wrong.