In other tiring news, I was just reading this highly disturbing report from a pair of civil rights attorneys who recently visited Guantanamo. (By way of Brad DeLong, by way of libertarian Power Of Narrative.) Detainees are, apparently, literally trying to kill themselves rather than continue living in the conditions there.
They starve themselves for long periods of time and attempt bloody suicides. The government responds by forcing tubes down their throats. People are trying to kill themselves to get out of custody, because they have no legal recourse. "They won't let us live, but they won't let us die," one of our clients explained.
I recently mentioned the applicability of Fidelio to our times -- another of the clients describes Gitmo as living "in a grave," the exact description given by Florestan of life in the deepest dungeon of a medieval fortress under feudal rule. Perhaps Time Magazine can retract the "man of the year" award from '04 (or whichever year that was), and make Dubya their man of the year for 1605.
Meanwhile Lindsey Graham, a former Army lawyer, feels free to lie to the Senate about the history of habeas corpus rights and military tribunals. If his amendment succeeds, his support for McCain's anti-torture amendment will be moot, since no detainee would ever be able to get access to courts to complain about having been tortured.
PoN also, incidentally, points to this op-ed explaining that many of the interrogation techniques approved by the Pentagon were mined from a program that was supposed to teach US soldiers to resist interrogation by Cold War enemies. Key takeaway that apparently Rummy et al. forgot about: "For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession." Most mind-boggling Rumsfeldian twist: these techniques were then re-defined as "not torture" because, after all, they'd been practiced, at least in small doses, on American soldiers in the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training program, and clearly we wouldn't torture our soldiers... not even to teach them to resist torture! ("Some within the Pentagon warned that these tactics constituted torture, but a top adviser to Secretary Rumsfeld justified them by pointing to their use in SERE training, a senior Pentagon official told us last month.")
How stupid are the people who vote for these people?