The APA leadership declined to take a stand against torture until their members rebelled. We now know that an outfit hired to toughen our soldiers, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, was also promoting using its tactics to teach torture — one of its trustees had been chair of the APA.

The real nonsense here is that the tactics used by friends to toughen one up are vastly different in effect if used by enemies threatening one’s death, going over the line with pain, violating one’s cultural norms (e.g. nakedness which is a disgrace for Muslims and standard phys ed shower stuff for Americans).

I was there in a small way. Grad students in my day always needed money and were used as subjects in all sorts of pain and mental disruption experiments. I was a simulated space shot guy for 48 hours — deafened, blinded, strapped in, subject to a variety of pain tests, e.g. a gadget that boiled water on a patch of my arm. It didn’t bother me except that it harmed my hearing for life — those psychologist observers did not know what they were doing or did not care. A number of the guys came screaming out with wires dangling and, thus, lost pay (one dollar an hour). Another grad student that summer told of the LSD things that the C.I.A. did to his group to extract information — some went psychotic and may have stayed that way.

So no more bull on torture please, Mr. Cheney.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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