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May-14-2009 04:59printcomments

Torture vs. Sadism

Bush’s War in Iraq, after the U.S. invaded that country one-hundred years later, is a virtual copy of the “Forgotten War” in the Philippines and how it must have been.

“water cure” during the Fil-American War
Soldiers of the 35th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiment either demonstrating or administering the “water cure” during the Fil-American War (Philippine Insurrection) of 1899-1902. Found in the U.S. Army Signal Corps photographs at the National Archives by Gregory J Urwin while researching The United States Infantry: An Illustrated History. Courtesy:

(PASO ROBLES, Calif.) - Water boarding has been used at least as far back as 1588 when it was graphically described by one who had been tortured by the Inquisition in Spain. At that time it was but part of a total process, but an essential part, meant to obtain confessions of crimes Inquisitors wanted to hear.

It was a no win situation for victims who were tortured to obtain information the Holy Office wanted, and that was used to condemn innocents who felt they had no choice under the circumstances if they were to save their lives, often to no effect. [Ref: The Spanish Inquisition, by Cecil Roth, pp.95-96 in the Chapter devoted to the tortures by The Holy Office]; a fiendish torture-repertoire used by Spaniards for centuries.

Spain controlled the Philippines long before the U.S. conquered the Islands in 1898. Filipinos, once they realized the U.S. intended to replace the rule of Spain, rebelled with a viciousness to match what Spain, more than likely, used against them. Beheadings and water torture were prominent methods used by Filipinos to express their displeasure with the U.S occupation that lasted until 1922.

Bush’s War in Iraq, after the U.S. invaded that country one-hundred years later, is a virtual copy of the “Forgotten War” in the Philippines and how it must have been. Seventy-Thousand American troops were sent to repel the insurrection in the Philippines. And, it is said they resorted to the same methods to quell the uprising as was used by Filipinos against them. Iraqi insurgents were every bit as barbaric as were the Filipinos, and Americans in Iraq used a pattern of torture, if not the same methods, to get even.

The Catholic Church and Protestants during the Reformation and the Counter Reformation used similar methods based on the Malleus Maleficarum, most of which were used by future generations, some even improved upon. The French Revolution produced the guillotine in 1792, and Nazis used it to “humanely” kill tens of thousands of people during its reign. [Search - Guillotine - on he web] Death camps and gassing were used for Jews, but no torture was more persuasive or horrendous than those of the Catholic Inquisitions, and their practice of burning dissenters at the stake [symbolic of an artificial hell] convinced spectators to toe the dogma-line.

Beheading by guillotine lasted in France up to the 1980s when capital punishment was outlawed. It was considered the most humane way to execute because it was cleaner. Earlier, axes were used, and depending upon the weapon of choice, swords, machetes, and even knives that often required more than one attempt to complete the job. Although torture might result in death, presumably its purpose was to gain information.

I say presumably because when persons are water-boarded six times a day for a month, logic ought to convince anyone that the torture doesn’t work, so why use it?

Dick Cheny, Geo. W. Bush’s V.P, is convinced, and is on the stump after the fact, to persuade doubters, that “torture” really does produce usable results. And he accuses President Obama of placing American’s at risk because he disagrees that torture works.

George Tenent who was in charge of the CIA in the Bush Administration stated on numerous occasions that, “America does not torture - people.” Since his departure, “people” has been dropped to say, “America does not torture,” assuming that water-boarding is not torture even when the evidence and everybody knows it truly is. The justification [in torture’s defense] seems to be, that anything done with the approval of Christianity - that insists only Christians are real people - is ipso-facto. OK.

Spain was the most Christian of all nations, and its conquistadores spread the faith far and wide, and with the help of Padres, helped Spain become, for awhile, the greatest nation on earth at an exorbitant cost in human lives. Following the 1st World War, when Nazism was on the rise, Spain was in the throes of a Civil War between Franco on the side of the Church, against those who hoped to establish a Democracy. Hitler saw an opportunity to test his growing arsenal prior to WW-II, and sided with Franco’s legions in defense of Christianity against the will of the people who, eventually, were given their Freedom by Franco’s successor. Nazi Germany was a reflection of the Catholic Church as it existed in the early and late Middle Ages.

The Republican Party in America has gradually moved in the same direction until, with the presidency of Geo. W. Bush, supported by the Republican Holy See, it was defeated in the election 2008. The Evangelists of our age built their Republican base on the foundation of traditionalists living mostly in the Confederate States, but also in the rural areas of northern states, and some others, where individualists continue to abide by a philosophy that claims, “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; word with Amen,” etc. that has attracted a cadre of Evangelists dedicated to returning America to the Late Middle Age, but under a Protestant label, where the Church is dominant in the affairs of men.

Dick Cheney comes from Wyoming that went big for John McCain in 2008, one of the states I referred to north of the Mason-Dixon line. As Vice President he and the Republican Holy See, with the aid of Karl Rove, Evangelists and their disciples - led Geo. W. Bush “beside the still waters” until Hurricane Katrina altered the equation.

The change in the attitude of President Bush since Katrina appears to suggest a loss of faith in those whose advice he had been accustomed to following. Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney in particular, because of Bush’s refusal to do as Cheney wanted done for Scooter Libby, show signs of estrangement. I’m not sure they are talking any more.

The Republican Holy See is pleased with Karl Rove whose firm the Party appreciates. While Geo. W. avoids the spotlight, his VP - Cheney - propagandizes the righteousness of Water-boarding, etc., and embraces Russ Limbaugh, another Party favorite.

President Obama, on the other hand, on May 13, 2009, elected NOT to release photos of tortuous conduct against captives that were scheduled for release on May 23rd. The ACLU may decide to fight the order. In the final analysis, the question of torture can be boiled down to this: does it work, and if not why do it?

The answer is SADISM: 1).- the gaining of sexual gratification by causing physical or mental pain to other people, or the acts that produce such gratification, and

2). - the gaining of pleasure from causing physical or mental pain to people or animals.

Human nature being what it is, people will forever seek gratification, sexual or otherwise. Priests do, and always have. Anyone who reads the Malleus Maleficarem, and places himself in the position of the priest, will likely experience a similar sensation as he fondles a tied-down, nude female, looking for clues with which to denounce her. In the process, he deserves to be denounced himself. Yet, when sufficiently abused, women commonly were condemned as witches and destroyed along with their secret. [Read Tales from the Decameron, for a view from another angle - available from]

I don’t blame our President from shielding us from photos depicting torture by red-blooded American boys and girls [ala Abu-Ghraib], if that is what they do, and that serve no useful purpose beyond producing sadistic-gratification. How else can the water-boarding of a man six times in one day, day after day, for a month - or more than 180 times - otherwise be justified, except by the joy of sadism?

Dick Cheney seems to me to be the Devil incarnate whose words constantly repeated amount to nothing more than evil personified.

Kenneth G. Ramey was a 79-year old "writer without a Website" who is generating excellent, provocative articles on the subject of religion and world affairs. We are pleased that Ken's "lone wolf" presence as a writer in the world has been replaced by a spot on our team of writers at Raised in Minnesota and California during the dark years of the Great American Depression, Ken is well suited to talk about the powerful forces in the world that give all of us hope and tragedy and everything in between. You can write to Ken at:

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