Kim Jong Il’s Torture Techniques – And Cheney’s

A reader points to the above video:

In the sequel to the Youtube you featured, starting around the 5:15 mark above, one gentleman describes the torture he received in a political prisoner camp, including being made to stand in a room full of waist-high water for 48 hours, as well as being handcuffed to the ceiling with his toes barely touching the floor (and bearing scars to this day from it) – what I have heard described as "stress positions".  I didn't expect to feel guilty watching a video about almost cartoonishly evil North Korean goons. But I feel ashamed knowing that American soldiers were ordered to perform many of these same "techniques".

The North Koreans did far, far, far worse things to innocents than the Bush-Cheney administration did to terror suspects. There is no moral equivalence between the two governments. But note the description of "unendurable" torture from being forced to stand for 48 hours in a stress position in water in a small box, exactly the kind of thing Donald Rumsfeld personally authorized.

The legal definition of torture is the infliction of "severe mental or physical pain or suffering" to procure information from someone physically under your control. I regard "unendurable" as a sub-set of "severe", don't you? And if that is so, and it is, then this country is in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Yes, of course, it was under Bush and Cheney, who deserve the lion's share of moral, legal and ethical culpability. But this president's refusal to uphold the rule of law on a matter of such profound significance is a Rubicon Obama – and Obama alone – allowed the United States to cross. There was a time when this could have been quarantined and prosecuted and the rule of law restored. If that ever happens in the future, Obama will have been as retroactively complicit as Bush was fecklessly guilty.