Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Torture in 1903

A reader of Mark Shea's blog tells of a priest who was tortured to death via "the water cure".

He links to an article in the New York Times from 1903, in which some great things stand out in a quote attributed to Judge Advocate General George B. Davis, who said, (107 years ago) ...

"No modern State, which is a party to international law, can sanction either expressly or by a silence, which imports consent, a resort to torture with a view of obtaining confessions as an incident to its military operations. If it does, where is the line to be drawn? If the 'water cure' is ineffective, what shall be the next step? Shall the victim be suspended, head down, over the smoke of a smoldering fire; shall he be tightly bound and dropped from a distance of several feet? Shall he be beaten with rods? Shall his shins be rubbed with a broomstick until they bleed? For all these, and more, have been done during the Spanish domination in the Philippine Islands, and the temptation to revive them, under circumstances of sufficient provocation, may prove too strong to be resisted.

"Again, suppose a native to die under an unusually vigorous administration of the 'water cure' how is the incident to be explained to the satisfaction of the American people? But it seems hardly necessary to pursue the subject further. The United States cannot afford to sanction the addition of torture to the several forms of force which may be legitimately employed in war."

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