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I have no problem with the US situation taking its place along side the numerous other cases of institutional torture, past and present.  Torture is torture regardless of the justification, but each situation should stand on its own merits as you state. Courts of law will most assuredly not introduce evidence from the medieval era should redress of detainee claims be considered in that venue.

My reaction to this comparison, between the current US cases and the medieval/Templar cases, is that it was written to infer that the situation in the US is the same as or worse than that during medieval times (as in really bad) and nothing has changed.  Well, I just don't see the logical, and necessary, in my opinion, link.

Why did you, in fact, choose the medieval Templar situation to compare? Why not more recent cases in Cambodia, Burma, China, S. and Middle America, most any Middle Eastern country, WW II Germany or Japan, the Soviet Union, No. Ireland, etc, etc?  The Templars were a religious order and their final downfall was mostly due to a domestic power struggle related to their accumulation of wealth, special privileges that inspired mistrust by the nobility, and the fact the French King was indebted to them.  They were not involved in or accused of attacking or plotting against any host State or population.  It seems they were just considered a threat due to their wealth and privilege, and their demise was an easy way for the King to relieve himself of debt. So, beyond the bare bones, no pun intended, similarities between the mechanics of torture, its severity and effects (common throughout history), I don't see any real basis for comparison.  That's my point.

Having said all of that, I absolutely do not want to give the impression that I find the diary of no value.

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 Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 at 11:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Courts of law will most assuredly not introduce evidence from the medieval era should redress of detainee claims be considered in that venue.

If they do their jobs, they will quote precedents from Nürnberg.

But that's not a whole lot better.

I think this line of discussion can perhaps be summarised as danps saying "we're allowing people to beat their kids. That's a medieval practise and should stop," while you're saying "yes, but look at the bright side: People aren't allowed to beat their servants or spouses anymore. Clearly, that is progress." Which it is. Only, one should think that we could do a little bit better than that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 at 12:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree in essence with your analysis of the discussion and your remark about Nurnburg (especially as introspection).  I would add that the US behavior/torture is a source of considerable personal embarrassment to me having spent much of my career in the US Government engaged in activities designed to prevent or redress this very kind of behavior (war and other crimes against humanity). So, I don't find the US's resort to torture particularly comforting. The institutions, laws and precedents carefully crafted over the centuries in the US and other countries to prevent torture and abuse are a source of pride and comfort. The fact that so many countries and militant groups are still willing to embrace torture and other barbarous acts for any reason is extremely disappointing.  

While I understand and support the need to continually remind Americans of their responsibility to ensure their government operates in a manner consistent with international law and treaty,and ensure the prosecution of those responsible for deviations, I believe the best way to do this is to focus on the matters/crimes at hand and resist the temptation to diverge from the facts and circumstances, for whatever purpose.  Some may find it appealing to compare the current state of American law and justice with that of previous eras, but I am certain many Americans, including myself, will fail to see the reasoning or the necessity.  

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 Sun Aug 2nd, 2009 at 08:55:29 PM EST
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