The consequences of de-sensitizing ourselves to torture

February 8, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

I wonder about those who argue that waterboarding is not torture– can they really believe it?  I suppose so.  Otherwise, how could this happen?  Joshua Tabor, a U.S. soldier based in Tacoma, Washington, allegedly waterboarded his 4 year-old daughter because she refused to recite the alphabet.  He chose the CIA-approved technique because he knew that his daughter was afraid of water, a phobia that will surely be an ongoing issue for the poor girl.  If Christopher Hitchens is to be believed, she’ll wake up with nightmares for quite some time.  Hitchens was a supporter of the torture technique, at least until he underwent it.  His column at Vanity Fair following the experience is titled, “Believe me, it’s torture.”  See for yourself, if you’ve got a sadistic streak:

There seems to be little doubt that Mr. Tabor has some other issues, as neighbors reported seeing him wandering the neighborhood wearing a kevlar helmet and threatening to break windows.  But I can’t help but think that our collectively cavalier attitude towards the use of torture, even on innocent women and children, has had a de-sensitizing effect on us.  Note this paragraph from Fox News:

“Joshua did not act as though he felt there was anything wrong with this form of punishment,” the police report said.

And why would he?  We, as a people, have not felt that there’s anything wrong with it.  If it’s good enough for innocent Muslim women and children, why not use it on our own children?  My heart hurts to think about the shock, the pain, and the terror that was inflicted on this poor girl at the hands of her own father.  It’s painful to me to think about all of the people that we have tortured, and I can only hope that this incident brings us closer to the point where we can unequivocally say, “Torture is wrong”.

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Category: American Culture, children, Good and Evil

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is a full-time wage slave and part-time philosopher, writing and living just outside Omaha with his lovely wife and two feline roommates.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    I saw the Hitchens waterboarding before, but I find it difficult to watch again, even KNOWING that he lasts less than a minute and that he survived and that he learned a powerful lesson.

    I can't imagine how horrible it must be to be forced into waterboarding when you are being kicked and shoved, malnurished, sleep-deprived for days before the session begins, and where you DON'T know if you will survive. If I were in charge, I'd have this rule: No U.S. employee agent or employee shall be qualified to waterboard anyone unless that agent or employee first subjects his or her own mother to the same amount of waterboarding.

    It's kind of like the anti-abortionists trying to make pregnant women look at ultrasounds. If you think its OK to waterboard other people, then first waterboard someone you care about, to bring home the fact that you are a wretched asshole to consider this "technique."

  2. Milton says:

    I guess we can ask, did the military let this “mental deficient” into their ranks or did they make this normal guy in this “mental deficient”. Even Ronald Reagan said that water boarding was torture, but I guess Cheney and his gay daughter are the brain trust on this lie that has been perpetuated onto the American people and signed off by the GOP.

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