Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Can We Torture Bruce Anderson?

I've always known that Bruce Anderson, who writes in the independent, is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. Reading his column usually has me shaking my head in bewilderment, and sometimes my blood boils, but I believe it's good to read what the opposition has to say so that it can be better countered.
But after reading this I have to ask if the man is entirely sane. The views expressed here are those considered mainstream in Neo-Nazi Chile, or Argentina, or Franco's Spain. Contrary to all the evidence which shows that torture doesn't work - he thinks it should be compulsory!
There's a lot to disagree with in this article. He suggests that it might be OK to torture the wife and child of a terrorist who has planted a bomb due to go off in a city like London. Apart from the fact that the scenario is completely unrealistic - I'm utterly lost for words at what a vile suggestion this is. Anderson seems to be taking his "Twenty Four" plots far too seriously; far from this sort of scenario - a more likely scenario is one where an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time is held for questioning, is unable to provide info, and the interrogators having been entirely indoctrinated to believe in hollywood's "Twenty Four" scenario consider that torturing this man is their duty. Innocent man cracks and blurts out garbage. This has happened over and over in Iraq.
Anderson berates a liberal friend (?) for only having experience of the courtroom; wheras I've noticed that the only people who seem to be in favour of torture are right wing journalists and politicians falling over themselves to appear to be tough on terrorism & cooperative with gang of crooks who until recently ran Washington. There is generally quite a lot of feeling against torture both within intelligence and within the military. See a documentary called "Taxi to the Dark Side" which explores the reality of a policy of torture which was carried out from 2002 to 2006 (at least) first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
How many false alarms were brought about thanks to torture. How many innocent people were tortured, imprisoned and killed. how many ordinary Iraqis and afghans have lost parents in these vile illegal wars, and are now growing up with bitterness and hatred in their hearts? We call thse people extremists, but if my country was invaded, and my people treated like this, I too would have a blood lust, and a desire to takeout as many of my occupiers as possible. and i would be applauded by the likes of Anderson for it. But if we (US and UK) behave like Nazis, illegally occupying a sovereign country (Anderson refers to the decidedly undemocratic, autocratic, oppresive, aggressive, terrorist-sponsoring Pakistan as a "Sovereign country" and ally at one point unable to see the irony as he attempts to justify flattening soveriegn countries and allies Afghanistan and Iraq, and threatening Syria and Iran) then it's because we have righteousness on our side, though no-one can agree what we started the wars for in the first place; justifications for the wars shift like desert sands. Maybe I should avoid his column in future.
I'm sure the independent only print his stuff to provoke debate, but maybe it's time to call it a day for this clearly bonkers and unpleasant writer?

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