When the sectarian violence in Iraq was at it’s peak in the wake of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra in February 2006, one of the things that turned American stomachs and soured the country on the war in Iraq was the graphic descriptions of the torture that victims of death squads were forced to endure before what must have been the sweet release of death.  One of the most revolting mental images that helped to turn a majority of Americans against the war was created by descriptions of wounds created by electric drills that had been used to brutal effect on the victims of the death squads that answered to Iraq’s Interior Ministry.  

Those memories came flooding back and I felt a wave of nausea wash over me when I read this.  

CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured al-Qaeda commander into giving up information, according to a long-concealed agency report due to be made public next week, former and current U.S. officials who have read the document said Friday.

The tactics — which one official described Friday as a threatened execution — were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA’s inspector general’s report on the agency’s interrogation program. Nashiri, who was captured in November 2002 and held for four years in one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons, ultimately became one of three al-Qaeda chieftains subjected to a form of simulated drowning known as waterboarding.

The report also says that a mock execution was staged in a room next to one terrorism suspect, according to Newsweek magazine, citing two sources for its information. The magazine was the first to publish details from the report, which it did on its Web site late Friday…

…In one instance, an interrogator showed Nashiri a gun and sought to frighten the detainee into thinking he would be shot, the sources said. In a separate encounter, a power drill was held near Nashiri’s body and repeatedly turned on and off, said the officials, who spoke about the report on the condition of anonymity because it remains classified.

The federal torture statute prohibits a U.S. national from threatening anyone in his or her custody with imminent death.

Three months before Nashiri’s capture, the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge — advised the CIA in an August 2002 memo that threats of “imminent death” were not illegal unless they deliberately produced prolonged mental harm…

A federal judge – who must be horrified at having to call Jay Bybee a peer – ordered a redacted version of the IG report be released after the ACLU sued for access to  the document.  Since June, lawyers for the Justice Department and the CIA have been scrutinizing the document to determine how much of it can be made public.

Christ – it’s already leaked that we threatened a human being with an electric drill, and that is terrorist behavior.  What the hell, pray tell, are they going to redact?  

And more importantly, where is the line for those who answered the call to queue up and get back all those years spent in service?  I am sure that my husband is not the only one who wants to know, because the America that he – we –  agreed to stand up for didn’t do shit like this.  We were a refuge for people who suffered at the hands of people who did things like this, for Christ’s sake!  

How much more inexcusable crap many more war crimes like this are we going to be asked to overlook or let slide?  At what point do those who would have us “just keep walking” and not hold anyone accountable for turning our country into a rogue state realize that they are marching away from the very things that made America an ideal, a grand experiment; and toward a place that is antithetical to the very notion of America?

Crossposted from They Gave Us a Republic