Friday, February 11, 2005

One man's torture is another man's S&M dungeon 

Questions continue to be raised about "sexually provocative" interrogation tactics used by female interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. This from the "Washington Post" (hat tip: Best of the Web):

"Detainee lawyers likened the tactics to Nazis shaving the beards of orthodox Jews or artists dunking a crucifix in urine to shock Christians. 'They're exploiting religious beliefs to break them down, to destroy them,' said Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents several dozen detainees. 'What they're doing, it reminds me of a pornographic Web site -- it's like the fantasy of all these S&M clubs'."
Which begs the question - do "detainee lawyers" and the Centre for Constitutional Rights think that artists dunking a crucifix in urine constitutes an unacceptable torture for Christians. And if so, who can the Christians sue?

This is all such a tricky area, isn't it? If exploiting religious beliefs to break down detainees is a no-no (and I'm not arguing that it should or shouldn't be), are all the other types of beliefs, for example political or ethical beliefs, also off-limits? Would smearing vegetarians with meat be torture? Now, to some people, being locked up in the same room with a Republican, particularly a talkative one who makes fun of your deeply cherished ideals (think Rush Limbaugh or Mark Steyn or James Taranto), would be torture, too. Is this a purely subjective judgment of the torturee or are there some objective components in making the call?


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