Liberal Grace

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Of course America officially sanctions torture


The Bush administration has been adamant and unequivocal that there has been not sanctioned torture on its watch.

In the US military report released this week it sounded pretty horrid. But torture?

This is not the "bad apple" stuff but the officially sanctioned treatment.

The report described special operations troops, at a temporary holding facility in April 2004, keeping detainees in a room on a 3- or 4-foot (0.9-1.2 meter) chain, with a diet chiefly of bread and water, for up to 17 days.

The report cited a case in which detainees were kept at a special operations team's temporary holding facility in small cells -- measuring 20 inches by 4 feet by four feet -- for up to seven days, with at least one detainee kept naked


Let's try put ourselves in the detainees place... seven days in a space that is 27 square feet. Not high enough to stand nor long enough to lay down.

It is certainly not wide enough to roll over. I measured myself and -- yikes! -- I'm 17 inches wide and the small cheap Ikea office chair I'm sitting on is 18 inches wide.

Picture yourself in a Gitmo cell


So what does 20 inches by four feet by four feet (27 cubic feet) compare too?


A Coffin
How about a pine coffin which measures 79 1/2" x 24 1/2" x 14"?

A coffin is considerably roomier by length which is longer by over two and half feet. A coffin is even wider by four and a half inches! Apparently, the dead who never need to roll over are given more space than a Gitmo detainee.

Put Guantanamo gives a whole lot more headroom than a coffin. Enough to sit and stoop.

The Trunk of a Car

My mother used to drive a Lincoln Town Car and I'd look at that space and say, "Wow that is roomy! I could ride in there!" It would be a good car for the mafia since you could get a body in there without too much jamming.

The car trunk is tighter... but not by a lot. The 2006 Town Car is in the same league as the Guantanamo cells -- 21 cubic feet vs. 27 cubic feet.

A Refrigerator
I finally found something with exactly the same space as these Guantanamo cells. This lovely GE PSG27NG-C WW has exactly 27 cubic feet of internal space. But, at 68" would have much more standing room than the Gitmo cells.

But is 27 cubic feet for a week really torture?

If you locked someone in a GE PSG27NG-C WW for a week, do you think the police could charge you with inflicting "discomfort" on someone?

Of course it's torture.


Here is my very crude sketch. The dark male figure is 5'10". Try visualizing yourself -- or maybe a loved one -- in a 20 inch by 4 foot by 4 foot cell for a week: not standing up; no stretching out; not rolling over.

It gave me the creeps just to sketch this box. Every compassionate person should be sickened by this.

That's torture -- American state-sanctioned torture.

It is also a grotesque violation of our American values... not to mention Christian compassion.

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