Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nazis were executed for "enhanced interrogation"

This Sullivan post is quite chilling. It describes Nazi "Verschärfte Vernehmung", which is variously translated as "sharpened interrogation", "intensified interrogation", or of course "enhanced interrogation":

Sound familliar? Sullivan states his case simply:
Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I'm not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn't-somehow-torture - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
The punishment in 1948 for doing what we are now doing was death. I don't support the death penalty, but when people in positions of power turn the apparatus of the state into a means of torturing people, they should be punished severely. I would support sending all administration officials who supported and enabled the current spate of abuses to some kind of international tribunal to face justice. The shrieking of the torture-mongers (who form a substantial portion of this country) would be deafening. But the message it sent about our moral authority and our committment to justice would be indisputable. It certainly would do more for our reputation and ultimately our security than any bombing raid or foreign occupation.

Americans shouldn't be fooled by the idea that we're automatically different or better than others who torture or have tortured. Americans are better when we act better. Let's start doing so immediately. I think the first step is impeachment.


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