July 27, 2008

Jane Mayer - The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals

I've been watching Bill Moyers interview Jane Mayer about her new book. The reason I feel compelled to write is that he raised the issue of psychiatrists working with and in some cases designing the ways to torture. I'm sure I heard surprise in his voice - I'm hoping that was a way to encourage an answer because if it isn't he is demonstrating significant naivete. I thought Jane Mayer's response also was in the same tone. Historically doctors of all kinds have been involved in designing torture as well as making sure prisoners being tortured are tortured just enough, but not too much? Have Moyers and Mayer not been reading any recent history about the CIA and its training of torturers in South and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s? Can they really be surprised that the CIA would use the same methods, and even more, when this country was attacked. Unfortunately, not only does it show naivete, it also shows a conceit that the United States and its ideals are above that. I hope my perceptions are not accurate. Maybe they see their role as one of balance and fair mindedness, no commentary, just the facts. But in the situations Jane writes about, when one human being is debasing another, anger and horror are more appropriate.

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