The Problem's Bigger Than We Thought

The liberal Boston Globe is good for at least one thing -- showing us how deeply entrenched America-hatred is among the nation's elite. It's even buried into elements of the military:

All of the approaches to interrogation supported by President Bush as "nontorture" (head slapping, freezing temperatures, water boarding) qualify as torture under international law (Bush backs interrogation of suspects," Page A2, Oct. 6).

During my last year in Vietnam, 1968 to '69, I was in charge of US Air Force interrogation of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army prisoners. None of what Bush labels as legal was legal under the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is still a signatory. US Army, Marine, and Army of Republic of Vietnam personnel were constantly amazed at the interrogation results produced by the Air Force, and we were never allowed to touch prisoners, let alone head-slap them. Every human being has needs, and we learned those needs and exploited them. Neither Bush's bullying approach in the Mideast nor his unlawful interrogation program has worked. Sophisticated psychological methods are not being used by the Bush people, so the alleged "nontorture" bullying will continue.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, but systematic torture is not a policy you find associated with polities experiencing crime-fighting success (the FBI's crackdown on the mafia, say) or war-fighting success (the US military during the second world war). Rather, when the ideological needs of the powers that be run in the direction of creating demand for false confessions (Stalin's Russia, witch hunts, the Spanish inquisition) out comes the torturing.

UPDATE: Also see here where Mitt Romney's campaign staff emails Marc Ambinder to brag that their man will be more cavalier in his disregard for Americans' civil liberties than will his GOP rivals.