|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Quis Torture Ipsos Torturers?
Saturday, April 25th, 2009
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? Send a letter to the editor.|
|Now there's documentary proof the Bush administration tortured prisoners, right down to the Spanish Inquisition approved methods and the numbers of times they were applied, everyone is asking if it worked. Considering that torture has been with us since the dawn of recorded time, this is probably the stupidest question in history. Of course torture works. It all depends what you want it for.
Take that most ancient torture, stoning, to which the ancient Jews among others had recourse in biblical times. Jesus' later injunction to let those "without sin cast the first stone" was never much of a deterrent because stoning, along with its later variant, the stocks, was practiced vigorously throughout Christendom into early modernity. Not to be behind-hand, Muslims still enthusiastically employ it in the Middle-East and Africa. Is it effective? If the purpose is to batter the victim until maimed or dead, nothing is more so.
Indeed despite the pacific teachings of their church's founder, Christians developed all kinds of refinements of torture, including the rack, the iron maiden, the Judas throne, and breaking on the wheel. Rare was the case where a confession wasn't extracted with such methods. Look at Galileo. He re-ordered the entire solar system against his better judgement merely because of the threat of torture. How efficacious is that?
Whipping is another ancient form of abuse still widely in use today. Even places with pretences to civilization, Singapore for example, regularly beat victims with rod or cane. Does it work? If the goal is to inflict pain, sure it does. Just try flogging yourself if you don't believe it.
So the verdict of millennia of history is clear. If the aim is to inflict pain, maim, extract a confession, or kill, torture works perfectly. According to the Red Cross, those are precisely the results obtained by the United States during the Bush regime.
Of course, the Inquisition didn't care if the confessions it obtained were true. Galileo didn't actually reorder the solar system, he just said he did. And his inquisitors didn't give a rap. All they wanted was his confession. This is true of every legal system that has ever employed torture. Truth is never the object. In fact the very methods employed by the US were based on techniques designed to extract false confessions. Did Bush believe he was getting the truth out of his victims? Maybe he and his minions didn't read the instructions carefully enough. We may never know for sure, but one thing is pretty certain: much as we might be inclined to try it, torturing the torturers won't tell us a thing.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2009
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A NOTE TO READERS ***Update***
Another three week plus hiatus, from April 30th until May 23rd, again due to Yahoo Geocities dismal service.
There was nothing new at The Nossiter Net between March 3rd and April 26th, 2007, nearly eight weeks. The reason: tech sabotage. Yahoo Geocities, the host for this site, denied access for the entire period. At one point, they even managed to lose all the files. In many discussions with Yahoo staff, no clear explanation was forthcoming. No one seemed able to fix the problem. Ruling out the possibility of Dubbya’s revenge, I finally wrote to Mr. Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc and described the ordeal the page had undergone since the beginning of March. A week later, a helpful Yahooo engineer named Jason called. He had my letter before him. Though he couldn’t do the repairs on on the spot, he promised a fix by the next day. That was April 26th, nearly two months after shutting me down in the first place.
The Nossiter Net apologizes, which is more than I can say for Yahoo Geocities.
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