Tag Archives: China

Terrorism in a police state

The Bush administration has consistently claimed that the government must expand their power and restrict the rights of citizens in order to maintain security and prevent terrorist attacks. They have aimed for warrantless wiretaps, indefinite detention and torture of so-called "enemy combatants", spying on peaceful activist groups, suppression of non-violent protests, etc. I bet they would even love to control the mass media, although they appear to be compensating using the "fair and balanced" FOX News, a news network that blatantly displays its bias in favor of the conservative right.

So it's ironic when there is a bomb attack in China, a police state of the sort that the Bush administration can only achieve in their dreams. Even with an oppressive level of control over the populace, China still hasn't been able to prevent terrorist attacks on their soil. Is a significant erosion of civil rights worth the prevention of a few terrorist attacks? Given that a nation much more like a genuine police state still suffers from plenty of terrorist attacks, I'm somewhat dubious whether expanded government power at the price of civil rights would actually help prevent any terrorist attacks at all. Some might even be able to make the case that it would actually motivate more terrorism.

American torture emulates Chinese

In a display of both unbelievable stupidity and malice, it has been revealed that some of the interrogation classes at Guantánamo Bay based their material on techniques used by the Chinese during the Korean War. Not only were these techniques basically torture, they were often used to extract false confessions from American soldiers. While it is well known that torture does not work, it's laughable that the military trainers taught techniques that were expressly designed to extract false confessions. Although it's more like torture of any kind is more likely to result in false information than not.

So much for the Bush administration's claim that they needed "enhanced interrogation techniques" to obtain reliable intelligence on terrorist networks. Their ignorance of where certain interrogation techniques came from and whether they even work, in addition to the malice of those in power who didn't even think that the techniques were cruel and unusual punishment, resulted in another blow to the United States' respect for human decency. And it's quite probable that the torture of terror suspects didn't help much, either, and it just tarnished the country's reputation on the global stage.