Here’s a timely reminder of why I cannot support or endorse Barack Obama’s re-election; because voting for someone who covers up torture, orders the murders of innocents and assigns himself the right to carry out extra-judicial killings crosses an absolute moral red line for me no matter what the other benefits of an Obama second term might be.
Categorical assertions by the Obama and Bush administrations that only three detainees were ever waterboarded are, not to put too fine a point on it, crap.
The investigation by Human Rights Watch had its origins in a trove of documents related to detainees transferred to Colonel Qaddafi’s prisons, including several by the United States. The papers became available last year as a result of the uprising against the Libyan leader, which was supported by the United States and other NATO allies.
…A particular focus of the report is the account of Mohammed Shoroeiya, who was reportedly detained in Pakistan in April 2003 and held in American custody in Afghanistan before being transferred to Libya. Mr. Shoroeiya gave Ms. Pitter detailed sketches of what he said were prison facilities and techniques.
Mr. Shoroeiya told Human Rights Watch that at one point in Afghanistan, his American captors had put a hood on his head and strapped him to a wooden board, then poured water over his face until he felt as if he was asphyxiating. An American man who appeared to be a doctor was present during the sessions, he said. While he did not use the term ”œwaterboarding,” the description matches that technique.
”œThey start to pour water to the point where you feel like you are suffocating,” Mr. Shoroeiya said. He was asked questions between sessions, he added, and ”œthey wouldn’t stop until they got some kind of answer from me.”
The Libyans also detailled other tortures at US hands – all techniques which had been OK’d by the Bush administration and which the Obama administration refuses to prosecute for.
[Being] stripped naked and chained to walls; being left in diapers in dark cells for weeks or months at a time without being allowed to bathe; being forced into painful stress positions; being slammed into walls while their necks were protected by a foam collar; being forced into a small box; and being subjected to continuous, loud music.
Being moral is about doing the right thing even when it is tough to do so, and I’m entirely unconvinced by “but Romney would be worse on this as well as for the economy” arguments. The first part ignores the difference between someone who has committed these crimes and someone who at least so far only has the potential to do so – that is, bluntly, the difference between guilty and innocent. The second – well, excusing such criminality simply because someone will put money in your back pocket reminds me of the anecdotal Churchill quote: “We’ve already established what you are. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”