Sunday, November 18, 2007

Psychological Torture Okay?

On Wednesday November 7, 2007, the primary operations manual for running of the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay named Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure was published by the government transparency group Wikileaks. The 238 page manual clearly exposes among other things, systematic methods for extreme psychological torture and stress as well as clear instructions not to allow prisoners to meet with humanitarian agencies like the International Red Cross- in violation of international law. Even the American Psychological Association, the only remaining body of medicine NOT to condemn these practices is having to re-evaluate its policy and participation.

What the manual also describes are the details to the so-called "Leave No Marks" interrogation techniques that were confirmed recently by release of a handwritten memo by then Sec of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As Sen John McCain, a vietnam POW who co-authored the McCain-Feingold torture law that was ignored through executive signing instruction by this pResident once said, " I would have gladly chosen physical torture to psychological...mental torture is far more inhumane"

With the release of yet another document clearly illustrating the Bush administration lied to the public on several occasions how has the government responded? The Pentagon is actively seeking to censor the document under the States Secret Act and the Whitehouse spokesmen are backpedaling and avoiding direct questions. Can Congress get to the bottom of yet another clear violation of the peoples trust? We'll have to see how the Bush team spins a cocoon around this story and buries it into its web of lies, distortions and blatant abuses of power. We'll also have to see how the media covers the details. Is this the kind of Leadership you think best emulates Freedom and Democracy?

At a time when we are supposedly trying to help Pakestan's fledgling democracy to be more like us, is this the us we mean? Musharif may already consider himself to be a student of George W Bush.

Support our Troops?

Do we really care about our Troops? Talk is cheap and our actions of late, even cheaper.... So many citizens, veterans and politicians wrap themselves up in the flag and talk tuff for the troops.... but the reality is far from the rhetoric.

On friday, Congressman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina cackled from the Senate floor against the $87 Billion Dollar troop funding bill with a timeline attached. Citing "our troops are winners, not losers". Veterans and citizen-bloggers have constantly taken to flag-waving and tuff talk about our "supporting our troops" and continuing the constant clammer against "cut and run".

New figures released this week site nearly 4700 troops deserted their posts this year alone, up from 3300 last year. This represents an 80% increase in the desertion rate and is the highest in nearly 30 years— and the pace is accelerating. Additionally figures showing one in four homeless people in the US are war veterans, a point relegated to minor news clips buried in the media. Troops in record numbers are returning home with PTSD and are finding inadequate -if any- treatment or help from the Government. A study yesterday reported that more than 6000 soldiers took their own lives in 2005.... thats 17 soldiers a day!

Meanwhile, with a huge budget for slick ads, flashy powerpoint presentations, uncensored access to our High School and University Student personal records and cafeterias...our proud military has taken to preying on youth through profiling and false advertising. With budgets of between $1600-4000 per recruit, the military sees no reason to invoke the draft.

I don't know about you all, but if thats the pride to which we want to defend our troops, then there is something terribly wrong with this nation and the conditioning these vets, politicians and gung-ho citizens have gotten from the media and the deceptive administration who to this day, says we are winning the war on terror.

Defending our troops... more correctly, our children and loved ones... means being certain our cause is just, our methods are above-board, our treatment of them upon returning is truthful and comprehensive and our media or information is honest and trustworthy. Anything less than that is not only a slap in the face to every soldier who ever served, but a reason to stand up and fight for our soldiers!

Certainly there is an allegiance to our troops from our veteran population, and certainly our citizens owe them a deep debt of gratitude for their service whether in the gulf or at any other time, but allegiance and ignorance are not compatible. The longer we allow our elected leaders to beat their breasts about troops being winners- while waging a war of aggression that we all agree was not started in good faith (no connection to 9/11-no WMDs, no alqaeda)...The longer we accept daily revelations of the staggering costs of this war both in loss of life and loss of integrity to our nation and its allies... The more we continue to listen to the mainstream media make headlines of success while barely covering their redactions and truthful statements of record losses... the more we truly disrespect our troops today, and the honor and dignity of our nation and its armed forces.