Torture at Gitmo

Torture at Gitmo

I’ve been following the media storm over the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the alleged torture of prisoners held there and I have a couple of different thoughts.

First, I think the only reason there’s attention being paid to Gitmo is that despite the constant media drumbeat of body counts out of the country, the American people are not getting riled up and angry about it like the media and the Democrats want them to be. Thus they’re looking elsewhere for ammunition, but if they think Gitmo is it, they’re sadly mistaken. Whatever is really happening there, I don’t expect Americans to be able to muster any sympathy for terrorists captured on the field of battle.

Let’s remember that’s what they are: they’re not prisoners of war. They’re enemy non-combatants, foreign nationals not allied to any sovereign power who attack civilian and military targets indiscriminately. The Geneva Convention does not apply to them. Nevertheless, they are being treated far better than they have a right to expect. They receive three sumptuous meals a day, are allowed to practice their religion undisturbed, and are given medical treatment. Yes, they are in prison, but that’s because they were captured committing terroristic acts on the battlefield.

As to the claims of torture, that’s another question. Obviously, torture qua torture is immoral and should be forbidden. But what constitutes torture? Is interrogation torture? What if the interrogation involves making the prisoner sit on a hard chair for two hours? How about four? How about having to stand? Sit under bright lights? Is manacled to the floor? Has water thrown in his face (a la Tom Cruise in Britain the other day)? At what point does interrogation become torture?