Monday, June 20, 2005

Torture Test 

Via our distinguised colleague Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Making Light: You could slaughter 5,999,999 Jews and still claim, with technical accuracy, that Hitler was worse; it would be wrong, however, to insist that the comparison could not have been profitably invoked somewhat earlier in the proceedings. While you're pondering the ontogeny of what Sen. Durbin calls "mad regimes," visit Jeanne d'Arc and see if you can tell the difference between our torturers and their torturers.

SIDEBAR: If you missed the story of Specialist Sean Baker, who has sued the Pentagon for $15 million after suffering permanent brain damage during a "training drill" with an American interrogation team, Jeanne has the link:
The Pentagon first said that Baker's hospitalization after the training incident was not related to the beating. Later, officials conceded that he had been treated for injuries suffered when a five-man MP "internal reaction force" choked him, slammed his head several times against a concrete floor and sprayed him with pepper gas.

Baker said he had put on the jumpsuit and squeezed under a prison bunk after being told by a lieutenant that he would be portraying an unruly detainee. He said he was assured that MPs conducting the "extraction drill" knew it was a training exercise and that Baker was an American soldier.

As he was being choked and beaten, Baker said, he screamed a code word, "red," and shouted: "I'm a U.S. soldier! I'm a U.S. soldier!" The beating continued, he said, until the jumpsuit was yanked down during the struggle, revealing his military uniform.

No one has been disciplined or punished for the assault, said Baker's attorney, T. Bruce Simpson Jr.

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