Thursday, February 16, 2006

USS Pueblo Incident. Americans were not tortured, GOP rewrites history to cover Bush.


North Vietnamese declare torture of Americans a "prank". Not to be taken serious, no permanent damage done. They argue the context of the descriptions of torture overblown. Blame media for hype.


We have lost the moral high ground.

This is what McCain is talking about. How can we say the North Vietnamese are wrong when we do the same things?

About the Pueblo:

"The prisoner was forced to sit on the floor with his legs straightened out in from of him and an iron bar was secured to the ankles. Arms, straightened and behind the prisoner, were secured by ropes or straps which had been laced tightly from the armpits to just below the elbows. The prisoner's head was then pushed down towards his feet, producing not only severe pain but also causing difficulty with respiration and, in many, a feeling of claustrophobia. If a prisoner failed to respond, an interrogator would slowly tighten the ropes while standing on the prisoner's back. This procedure, which cut off the circulation in the arms, resulted in swelling and excruciating pain."

Initial torturing sessions lasted from several hours to several days, depending on the individual's stamina. Eventually all American prisoners were persuaded to answer questions and many were tortured to write "confessions." Wounded men were tortured as severely as the others but, unlike the non-wounded, the promise of medical attention was held out to them as a further inducement to cooperate -- a promise which, in some cases, was never realized.

Prisoners were held in solo cells that were small, filthy, and neither ventilated or heated. Beds consisted of wooden pallets or cement slabs with one blanket and a mosquito net provided for each of the prisoners. A container for human excreta was placed in the cell and emptied once a day. Prisoners were frequently reminded that they were criminals and were forbidden to communicate with fellow prisoners. Severe beatings or prolonged periods of isolation were given to those prisoners caught communicating covertly. Yet, in spite of the prison rules, the men organized themselves and followed a chain of command which issued their resistance orders.

The supply of food given to each man was inadequate; it consisted of two meals a day and varied in quality and quantity from one prison to the next. At first, weight loss among these men were pronounced. After October 1969 the food supply was increased and prisoners actually gained back some of their lost weight. To keep the body in shape, most prisoners developed an intensive program of daily exercise for themselves within the confines of their small cells.

Eventually, as greater numbers of prisoners of war were brought to Hanoi, some had to be housed together. In 1970, the numbers had grown to such proportions that larger rooms had to be constructed to house perhaps 40 men. However, even after 1970, the more senior prisoners remained isolated from the majority of the others.

Generally, then, the incarceration of the Pueblo crew was not as prolonged as that of the RPWs from Vietnam, nor was the treatment as physically, psychologically or environmentally as severe. The Pueblo crew was encouraged to function as a group, whereas the RPWs from Vietnam were hindered in any attempts at group functioning. Isolated from their leaders, the RPWs from Vietnam were able to organize only through sheer determination, ingenuity, and military experience.


Blogger PoliShifter said...

I'm surprised the wingnuts have not tried to justify our torturing of detainees at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib by saying "our soldiers were tortured in Vietnam and WWII and no one why should we be concerned about other people being tortured?"

4:54 PM  

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