We’re all glad that the British sailors are back home. Anyone following this story knows that these sailors were treated graciously by their Iranian captors. Nonetheless, while in captivity, the British sailors admitted that they had been trespassing in Iranian waters when whey were apprehended.
But notice some of the things that have been said about the confessions of the British sailors in this piece by the Associated Press:
None of the sailors and marines freed by Iran will be punished for making apologies to the Iranians . . . The ministry said officials would examine the circumstances in which some of the 15 sailors and marines appeared in videos on Iranian state television offering regrets for entering Iran’s territorial waters, while Britain’s government has insisted they were in Iraqi waters.
Although experts said the broadcast admissions were almost surely made under duress, many British newspapers lashed out at the crew and the country’s military.
“Those were transparently cooked-up confessions. It would be wrong to criticize those people, and besides they were not betraying anything to put anyone at risk,” he said.
The consensus thus seems to be that even when the people taken captive are treated very well they can feel enough duress to confess to things that are false.
Now let’s shift gears. Compare the above confessions to the confessions conducted through torture conducted by the United States. See here and here and here and here. The official American position seems to be: “We torture and they confess. What’s the big deal?” As though confessions produced through torture are reliable.
Ergo, confessions produced in captivity, even without torture, are not reliable, at least when our allies are the victims. On the other hand, confessions are no problem at all when they are provoked by waterboarding and other horrible forms of torture conducted by the United States at places like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in Afghanistan and at secret Central Intelligence Agency detention centers around the world.
“God bless America,” those same conservatives who justify torture are so prone to say.