How Conservatism Came To Copy Communism


Not just using former Soviet camps in Eastern Europe to torture prisoners, but copying Communist Chinese torture techniques from the 1950s:

Mr. Biderman’s 1957 article described “one form of torture” used by the Chinese as forcing American prisoners to stand “for exceedingly long periods,” sometimes in conditions of “extreme cold.” Such passive methods, he wrote, were more common than outright physical violence. Prolonged standing and exposure to cold have both been used by American military and C.I.A. interrogators against terrorist suspects.

The chart also listed other techniques used by the Chinese, including “Semi-Starvation,” “Exploitation of Wounds,” and “Filthy, Infested Surroundings,” and with their effects: “Makes Victim Dependent on Interrogator,” “Weakens Mental and Physical Ability to Resist,” and “Reduces Prisoner to ‘Animal Level’ Concerns.”

The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.”

So Reagan's alleged heir came to follow the moral strictures of Communist totalitarians. And note: the torture methods were designed to elicit false confessions. We have no assurance that the intelligence conjured up by this brutality is anything more than what Dick Cheney wanted it to be. (That's how he likes his intelligence, of course. Whatever he wants reality to be.)

But one thing is at least clear. The people who committed this form of "enhanced interrogation" knew full well it was torture. And they used that word. It's a good one. And it means what it says.