Confessions of a Torturer in Iraq

March 2, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Iraq, Military, Torture | 8 Comments

Confessions of a Torturer.

The Chicago Reader highlights the story of Tony Lagouranis, who was sent to Iraq, and who at the command of his superiors tortured Iraqis, even though they had little to no information. Read his account. The important thing to note is that soldiers were told (all the way from the top, from Bush himself) that the Geneva Conventions did not cover these individuals, even in Iraq. The Pentagon had given soldiers some vague guidelines, like manipulate the environment, but never mentioned specifics, just how far they could go. How could these soldiers know how far they could go? The Geneva Conventions had worked for American interrogators for 60 years, upon all sorts of different enemies. This situation was no different, and Bush had no excuse legally or morally, to say that the Geneva Conventions no longer applied.


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  1. This torture stuff really is horrible. I’ve joked around about it, but there are some things about this that really trouble me and this is why I don’t fully trust our government or any government. Government is people and people often lie or do things that are wrong. That’s really all there is to it. It’s very simple.

    I’ll tell you what actually pisses me off, what concerns me most for some reason, are the “non-torture” tortures. That is, I think it is alarming that there is this idea that it is okay to completely isolate a person or deprive him/her of human interaction, a view of the outside, any kind of variety of experience – and to do that for weeks, months and years.

    That might be even worse that a beating or a torture that involves pliers, knives, electric shock or whatever.

  2. There was an old episode of “Hawaii Five-O” that has always stuck with me, because the plotline involved your “non-torture/torture” idea. People were knocked unconscious somehow, and while they were under, the bad guys (Wo Fat and his flunkies, no doubt) put them in special scuba gear in tanks of water that were heated to body temperature, and before putting them in the scuba gear, they filled their ears, nostrils and covered their eyes with some kind of substance that prevented them from hearing, smelling or seeing anything while floating in the water tank. It was supposed to drive these people crazy by depriving them of all physical sensations over a period of time, until their brains went whacko from the complete lack of sensory input.

    I always thought that if that sort of thing really could be done, it would be a horrible thing to undergo.

  3. hey danithew,

    Thanks for stopping by. I know you’ve joked about it before, and I’m glad to see your real views on it. I hope more Americans who participated in torture in Iraq and Afghanistan come out with their stories like this, to show just how horrible and evil this stuff really is.

  4. Dan,

    I’ve given you a hard time about it, because every time a related issue comes up (Iraq, Bush, whatever) you come and talk about torture. I do feel there are other issues that matter as well.

    However, the government has been getting away with way too much in the way they treat war prisoners. In fact, I think some of the way we even treat American prisoners is very very problematic. I feel some of the supermax prisons are designed in a calculated manner to isolate prisoners to such an extreme that they lose their sanity.

    That is cruel and it is not acceptable.

  5. yeah I do talk about it a lot, but I really feel it is that important. It is a black taint on our society, it will bring us ruin and sorrow.

  6. I agree with danite. Its easy to give you a hard time about torture…because all roads seem to lead to torture with you.

    But it is a very important subject—and its one that there needs to be reasoned, articulate debates about the subject—which you do. I admire your passion about the subject. Have you seen the article in the New Yorker about Torture and 24?

  7. yes I have, Sherpa. I wrote a full length post on it a while back.

  8. I thought I remembered it. I’m a fan of the New Yorker. Its one of the few periodicals thats really well written today.

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