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I'm not sure why the medieval period was picked as a reference for torture and prisoner of war treatment.  I suppose everyone thinks of that period as epitomizing the term torture, however some would strongly disagree with that characterization. As noted in the above article torture was more prevalent in later periods beginning with the Reformation. Perhaps the Templar case seemed to fit the characterization.

Beyond that likely error in characterization, the contexts are completely different in terms of prevailing societal norms, systems of justice and expectations, and relative levels of personal freedom especially in the geographical area on which this diary focuses. (Europe and the US).  For example, during the Middle Ages, conquering armies often massacred surviving combatants as well as entire civilian populations.

From Wikipedia:

In Christian Europe, the extermination of the heretics or "non-believers" was considered desirable. Examples include the 13th century Albigensian Crusade and the Northern Crusades.[1] Likewise the inhabitants of conquered cities were frequently massacred during the Crusades against the Muslims in the 11th century and the 12th century.

In addition, as acknowledged in the diary the Templar trials were based on confessions obtained by torture. Although it is stated, editorially, that the lack of trials for US detainees compares poorly with Templar trails, I don't believe the diarist meant to say that. The fact that many detainees have been able to receive hearings before US courts (and have in fact been ordered released) is an example of differing times and circumstances.  

Likewise, the US's behavior is subject to open criticism and redress only because some members of modern society have gained the absolute freedom to voice disapproval of this behavior and are strongly and emotionally conscious of human rights, dignity and the rule of law.  

No, the torturous acts authorized or facilitated by US Government officials, and approved of by many of its citizens, should be considered as a discrete case. Comparison with other cases, especially those that took place in bygone eras may serve a political and emotional purpose, but beyond that the comparison has no validity.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Aug 1st, 2009 at 11:48:04 PM EST
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