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Showing posts from August 7, 2005

Back in the USSR

Torture's Long Shadow
By Vladimir Bukovsky
Sunday, December 18, 2005; B01
CAMBRIDGE, England

One nasty morning Comrade Stalin discovered that his favorite pipe was
missing. Naturally, he called in his henchman, Lavrenti Beria, and
instructed him to find the pipe. A few hours later, Stalin found it in his
desk and called off the search. "But, Comrade Stalin," stammered Beria,
"five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

This joke, whispered among those who trusted each other when I was a kid in
Moscow in the
1950s, is perhaps the best contribution I can make to the current argument
in Washington about legislation banning torture and inhumane treatment of
suspected terrorists captured abroad. Now that President Bush has made a
public show of endorsing Sen. John McCain's amendment, it would seem that
the debate is ending.

But that the debate occurred at all, and that prominent figures are willing
to entertain the idea, is perplexing and alarming to me. I have seen wh…