The ignorance of Rudy Giuliani with respect to the history of torture is almost on a level with his ignorance about Islam and the Middle East. Yesterday, he made this comment:

They talk about sleep deprivation. I mean, on that theory, I'm getting tortured running for president of the United States. That's plain silly. That's silly.

Really? Has Giuliani ever inquired about the history of sustained sleep deprivation as a torture technique? Stalin perfected it. And one of its victims was Menachem Begin, a man for whom presumably Giuliani has some respect. Begin was subjected to the same techniques that Bush has used by Joseph Stalin in the Gulag. In Begin's view, being forced - not choosing - to stay awake for days and even weeks on end (as Rumsfeld approved in Gitmo) is one of the worst forms of torture there is. He described just such a torture victim who is

"wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire to sleep, to sleep just a little, not to get up, to lie, to rest, to forget ... Anyone who has experienced the desire knows that not even hunger or thirst are comparable it with it."

Do you think that starving someone until they tell you what you want them to say is torture? Do you believe that objecting to such torture techniques is "plain silly"?

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