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White House nears completion of new torture guidelines

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Andrew Sullivan, a conservative blogger for The Atlantic, writes that many of the interrogative techniques being condoned by the Bush administration were used by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s [Editor's note: The article contains a graphic photo.], and resulted in the convictions of the interrogators for war crimes. Mr. Sullivan notes the similarities between the "enhanced interrogation" employed by the Nazis and techniques condoned by the Bush administration, as well as parallels between the defenses presented at trial by the Nazis and the justifications offered by the White House.

The victims, by the way, were not in uniform. And the Nazis tried to argue, just as [former Department of Justice official] John Yoo did, that this made torturing them legit. The victims were paramilitary Norwegians, operating as an insurgency, against an occupying force. And the torturers had also interrogated some prisoners humanely. But the argument, deployed by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Nazis before them, didn't wash with the court [which found them guilty]. ...
Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I'm not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn't-somehow-torture - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
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