May 23, 2005
In December of 2002, two Afghanistan men held by the U.S. military died after torture at a detention center. Details of their deaths were just released on May 20 and 22 in The New York Times. In addition to beatings and humiliations, the detained were regularly chained to hang from the ceiling of their cells, threatened with rape, kept hooded, and deprived of sleep. One was kicked so hard that a military doctor said his legs looked like they had been run over by a bus; he died from this treatment by U.S. soldiers.
According to what soldiers later told investigators, all detainees were to be considered terrorists, with no rights, until proven otherwise.
What was the man's crime? He drove his taxi with three passengers in it past a U.S. air base on a day when it had been hit by rockets. Even most of his interrogators admitted the taxi driver was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nonetheless, he was tortured to death and his three passengers were sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for further "questioning" by the U.S. military. After 15 months of questioning, the men were released with a statement that they posed "no threat." None of these four Afghan men had any information about the "terrorists" whose existence was the excuse for the war in Afghanistan in the first place. But torture in such a situation isn't aimed only or even primarily at getting information. Its aim is to terrorize a population into complete submission.
People in other parts of the world, especially Afghanistan and Iraq, have every reason to think of the U.S. government as terrorists.