U.S. torture policy comes home—UC Davis cops “pepper-sprayed down the throats” of students

John covered this in his original post (see last update), but I want to highlight this one part.

This is from an open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (a name to remember) from Prof Nathan Brown, UC Davis (my emphasis):

When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Torture. There’s no other word for this behavior.

You can talk about one cop, or provocation (if they can find it), or cop behavior, but that’s small-bore analysis.

This is the Bush–Obama torture regime come home. When a nation tortures, forgives torture, justifies torture, glories in torture — it corrupts itself from the core. This nation, my nation, is rotting from the core.

No defender of torture will be able to take a clean position on this incident. Watch them. They’ll twist themselves into knots with their too-bad’s and their yes-but’s and their “Sorry Mrs White, I know that cruelty was meant for other people; we’ll do better next time.”

Only the torture-free will make sense when they speak.

Did I say Torture? Add Sadism. The purpose of torture is to give pleasure to the torturer. The rest is just the cover story.

Who’s the torturer? The man with his hand on the pepper-spray gun. The one who put a sadist on the front line. The one who, from his couch, wants cops to deliver “Second Amendment justice” to all those he leads himself to hate. And the one who cheers on as “Justice” Jack Bauer separates the testicles of another of America’s many enemies.

Yes, the delight they took in torture watching the “fictional” 24 is the true black heart of America. The inestimable Dahlia Lithwick, writing in 2008 (my emphasis):

The most influential legal thinker in the development of modern American interrogation policy is not a behavioral psychologist, international lawyer or counterinsurgency expert. Reading both Jane Mayer’s stunning “The Dark Side,” and Philippe Sands’s “Torture Team,” it quickly becomes plain that the prime mover of American interrogation doctrine is none other than the star of Fox television’s “24,” Jack Bauer.

Torture and sadism. This is America’s black heart, America’s Bush–Obama torture policy come home.

You could say that it’s always been that way. True, but it’s getting worse. I wish I could say this is a one-off. It’s clearly not.

GP


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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