David Limbaugh

If they want to understand what real torture-minded interrogators have been known to do, they could begin with the chapter on "The Interrogation." The chapter begins, "If the intellectuals in the plays of Chekhov who spent all their time guessing what would happen in 20, 30, or 40 years had been told that in 40 years interrogation by torture would be practiced in Russia; that prisoners would have their skulls squeezed within iron rings; that a human being would be lowered into an acid bath; that they would be trussed up naked to be bitten by ants and bedbugs; that a ramrod heated over a primus stove would be thrust up their anal canal (the 'secret brand'); that a man's genitals would be slowly crushed beneath the toe of a jackboot; and that, in the luckiest possible circumstances, prisoners would be tortured by being kept from sleeping for a week, by thirst, and by being beaten to a bloody pulp, not one of Chekhov's plays would have gotten to its end because all the heroes would have gone off to insane asylums."

Nor were these isolated, extreme, or extraordinary events being practiced "by one scoundrel alone in one secret place only, but by tens of thousands of specially trained human beasts standing over millions of defenseless victims."

Oh, yes, and lest we forget, the interrogators of the Soviet camps were not trying to extract information from their subjects for such laudatory purposes as preventing the further slaughter of innocent human beings such as the victims of the Sept. 11 massacres. "Throughout the years and decades, interrogations under Article 58 were almost never undertaken to elicit the truth, but were simply an exercise in an inevitably filthy procedure: Someone who had been free only a little while before, who was sometimes proud and always unprepared, was to be bent and pushed through a narrow pipe where his sides would be torn by iron hooks and where he could not breathe, so that he would finally pray to get to the other end. And at the other end, he would be shoved out, an already processed native of the Archipelago, already in the promised land. (The fool would keep on resisting! He even thought there was a way back out of the pipe.)"

If I had the space, I could recount the list of 31 torture techniques enumerated by Solzhenitsyn, which was only a partial list: "Is there much left to enumerate? What won't idle, well-fed, unfeeling people invent?" -- but I trust you get the point.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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