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#295#296#297#298 Episode #299 - Sadism and Empire
(From South Dakota to Abu Ghraib)



Sun 26 March 2006  Andrea Smith, Tim Wise
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2Since the revelations of programmatic sexualized torture at Abu Ghraib and many other US military prisons, a few low level personnel have been given show trials as "bad apples", in order to deflect blame from the commanders and civilian officials such as Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales, who advocated the torture policy and now seek to deny it because it has been exposed. This week we hear two speakers on the deeper purpose, why it is routine US policy.
Sadistic torture in the service of American foreign policy. however, is not new. For example, sadistic torture was carried out under American tutelage in Central America in the 1980's by foreign military officers trained at the US School of the Americas, These torture programs, called counter insurgency, were supervised by the CIA. Diana Ortiz, an American nun, is one person who lived to tell of her arrest and torture in Guatemala, which included gang rape and cigarette burns. She reported that her torture sessions were presided over by an American advisor, to whom the Guatemalans deferred. The general American self view is that we are a benevolent culture and that these sadistic acts are aberrations. I would like to suggest that they are too commonly found in American culture to be aberrations, and that they are found in every culture based on hierarchy and rank - the social structure epitomized by the military, as well as by patriarchal theocracies. Most people do not believe, or do not wish to acknowledge that sadism is a perennial feature of the military and of societies that glorify the military.
Thanks to Richard Ingram, Fred Nguyen
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