“It’s Just A Matter of Time Before [Torture] Spills Back Into Domestic Territory. Historically, It Always Has”

War Always Comes Home

Military and constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley notes:

The cost of our torture program — and the failure to prosecute a single official for it (or the destruction of evidence and false statements revealed in its aftermath) will continue to cost this country dearly. Countries like Iran, North Korea, and China have already cited our use of water boarding to defend against their own abuses. When our soldiers or citizens are water boarded in the future, countries will play back Cheney’s words and others to say that such abuse is not torture. When we demand that officials in other countries be prosecuted for torture, they will mock our hypocrisy and own history.

Indeed, our enemies have already tortured Americans because we did it first.

Matthew Alexander – a former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi –  wrote in the Washington Post:

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

And see this.

Torture isn’t just putting Americans in harm’s way abroad.  It’s also going to come home to haunt us.

Retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce wrote last week:

To practice torture is to self-identify as a repressive police state, even if the practice is reserved only for conduct outside one’s own borders. But it’s just a matter of time before it spills back into domestic territory. Historically, it always has.

It always has … for thousands of years.

Indeed, all of the facets of militarization abroad are coming home.

Postscript:  Torture is already arguably occurring occurring in U.S. prisons.

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  • Tom

    I would argue that torture is already on our streets everywhere, in plain sight. Tasers, introduced as a “non-lethal compliance tool” quickly came to be used by police more for a “you said something I didn’t like and I’m going to torture you for it tool”. Getting Tasered is at least as painful as any other torture technique, if shorter-lived, and probably results in death at least as often. Yet it is completely accepted in the US as a standard police tool. Any citizen, male or female, young or old, can get Tasered for the flimsiest of reasons any time we step out in public, or even in our own homes. Police have eagerly embraced their “right” to torture us and we will be hard pressed to put this evil genie back in the bottle.

  • ClubToTheHead

    “It’s Just A Matter of Time Before [Torture] Spills Back Into Domestic Territory. Historically, It ALREADY Has”

    Jon Burge brought torture from Vietnam to the Chicago Police Department.

  • Drew Carter

    The bigger picture is that America has been Torturing for a very long time: Here in 1898.. Americans Proudly (front page of magazines Waterboard Filipinos http://genemilioaguinaldo.blogspot.com/2012/07/waterboarding.html In 1949 the Torture the Americans used to get confessions for the Nuremburg Trials was Unfathomable >> Obama: “‘We tortured some folks'” sounds like an echo from History! Edward L Van Roden.. when examining German Prisoners set to give testimony in the Nuremburg Trials – Reported 139 German Prisoners had their Testes Crushed! All from E.L Van Roden, one of the three members of the Simpson Army Commission which was subsequently appointed to investigate the methods of justice at the Dachau trials, revealed the methods by which these admissions were secured in the

    Washington Daily News, January 9th, 1949. His account also appeared in the British newspaper, the Sunday Pictorial, January 23rd, 1949. The methods he described were: “Posturing as priests to hear confessions and give absolution; torture with burning matches driven under the prisoners finger-nails; knocking out of teeth and breaking jaws; solitary confinement and near starvation rations.” Van Roden explained: “The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four and five months… The investigators would put a black hood over the accused’s head and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him and beat him with rubber hoses… All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was standard operating procedure with our American investigators. When Questioned on the Torture at Dachau: >> 68 Years Ago! the NYTimes April 31 1946- “Yes of course . We couldn’t have made those birds talk otherwise[…]It was a trick, and it worked like a charm” Colonel A.H. Rosenfeld, Dachau War Crimes Tribunal.

    The Americans have been Torturing People for a very long time! They claimed the Korean’s started it in 1952, but obviously Bull!