Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remember when?

Remember when President Bush said the "enhanced interrogations" would result in so lasting physical or mental harm to detainees.

We've had several journalists who have been waterboarded and afterword report nightmares for many months there after. Even though they were only waterboarded once, not 80+ times. That's long term mental harm.

When we went into Iraq one embedded reporter David Bloom died of a a pulmonary embolism. It was caused by deep vein thrombosis from the many hours sitting in a humvee not moving around. And the problem became something most people became aware of.

Advisories went out that on long car, plane, bus or train trips one should get up every hour or so (or stop at a gas station) and walk around a bit.

The more we learn about deep vein thrombosis and the problems caused by immobility the more claims of larger death toll than previously thought, of Africans being crammed into ships and brought to the new world as slaves takes hold.

But beyond that is that 18 hours of immobility was proscribed for detainees (most of them innocent) under "enhanced interrogation." The hours of being, hung, tied, shackled, put into a confinement box, etc. in immobile positions/poses was later revised down to 8. But that's still too long.

In nursing homes immobile bedridden patients are supposed to be turned every hour to keep the skin from breaking down (due to lack of oxygen on pressure points) and infection setting in. That's what a bedsore is, and it takes a lot of time, patients and work to heal. But the subject matter here is pulmonary embolism caused by immobilization.

Other risk factors [for Deep Vein Thrombosis] include advanced age, obesity, infection, immobilization, use of combined (estrogen-containing) forms of hormonal contraception, tobacco usage and air travel ("economy class syndrome", a combination of immobility and relative dehydration) are some of the better-known causes.

Today there are many discussions about torture. Creating a situation where someone is placed in long term immobility (when not medically necessary such a cast for a broken bone) IS torture.

It creates the conditions for a pulimary embolism and since we know this it violates the Geneva Conventions and President Bush and Gonzles' often statement of causing "no permanent physical or mental harm."

At the June 22, 2004, news conference, Gonzales said the White House defined torture as a "a specific intent to inflict severe physical or mental harm or suffering. That's the definition that Congress has given us and that's the definition that we use."

Since we know what long hours of immobility can do, those that died in our custody from a pulmonary embolism were murdered. And that what those who authorized the policies should be charged with. There may not have been the intent to cause death but there was the knowledge that it very well likely would.

Rules of conduct and laws are there to guide us through the toughest times, when it's easy to stumble and fall into behavior that removes our humanity and causes us to act immorally and drives us out of the "city on the hill."

We have known for a long time that torture doesn't work, it makes people give false information or hardens their resolve not to talk. It wastes time and reinforces the idea that we are a cruel people, despite our words.

Information was gained faster when interrogators showed that we as a people are what we claim to be, that we have lines that we will not cross, that we are not the cruel dictators they have come to know.

You are always in a better position when you have and hold the high ground, not when you sink into the abyss.

must read . . .
Torture Autopsy Reveals Death by Enhanced Interrogation