Jeff Kaye commented on the blog post A Vote for Torture That Scars Prisoners vs. a Vote for Torture That Does Not Leave Scars
Great article, Kevin, though there may be those who could label me biased ;-)
But you make the excellent necessary points, i.e., that the issues are between primary reliance on physical torture, which the CIA used and the GOP loves, and psychological or so-called “no-touch” torture, which was also crafted by the CIA some decades ago, and relies on isolation, sensory deprivation or overload, stress positions, and creating fearful scenarios.
Former interrogator Matthew Alexander wrote an op-ed for the New York Times a few years ago, “Torture’s Loopholes,” that discussed the problems with the manual and Appendix M. At that time, he noted one problem that I had not previously considered: “The Army Field Manual also does not explicitly prohibit stress positions, putting detainees into close confinement or environmental manipulation (other than hypothermia and “heat injury”). These omissions open a window of opportunity for abuse.”
It’s worth noting that most of the human rights groups at this point have publicly criticized the AFM and/or called for rescission of Appendix M. I’ve made a point myself of discussing the terrible changes on the policy re using drugs in the manual.
What irritated me about Savage’s article was that he labelled the Army Field Manual as having “nonabusive tactics”. Of course, that’s wrong, if you’re describing the totality of the manual, and he’s done nothing to correct that. I can’t prove he knows that I’ve tried to correct him, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t. That’s irritating, not on a personal level, since I’ve never tried to solicit attention from some famous reporter or politician for any egoistic purpose, but because it is dishonest to the public.
Thanks again, for taking up the cudgels on this important issue.