The CIA used an alleged accomplice in the Sept. 11 terror attacks as a test subject to train new interrogators. Agents diapered or left naked a one-legged CIA captive during his time in secret overseas detention. Taking showers still traumatizes the alleged USS Cole bomber, whom the CIA waterboarded in 2003.
There are so many disappointing things about American politics today that it is good to point out the opposite. John McCain, with little to lose or gain from the effort, maintains his principled stand against U.S. personnel using torture.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump spoke somewhat disturbingly about waterboarding, saying, ”I love it, I think it’s great. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding, and if you don’t think it works, folks, you’re wrong.” Though Trump himself has backed off those words, Vice President-elect Mike Pence wants the administration’s opinion to be ambiguous. “We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do,” Pence said. That ambiguity, deliberate or not, may create a tactical advantage for the United States, but it surrenders the nation’s moral advantage.
Laws were looser back in the olden days of the U.S. military. If you were a soldier during the Civil War and you screwed up big time, you were looking at a truly painful consequence. It wasn’t uncommon to be flogged or tied up by the thumbs for your misdeeds back then — and it took our country nearly a century to realize that corporal punishment was probably bad for troops and morale. Here are 10 crazy punishments that used to be legal in the U.S. armed forces.