Joshua Phillips, author of None of Us Were Like This Before: How American Soldiers Turned to Torture, talks to Siân Ruddick about his extensive research in Afghanistan uncovering the routine use of torture by US soldiers.
Phillips said, "The title of my book came from a soldier called Daniel Keller, from the transformative experience of engaging in torture, and how it affected him.
In the book Keller says, "The only thing that really does excite you is when you get to ... torture somebody ... we were doing things because we could. That's it."
The boredom of the soldiers, combined with the malicious racism of the operation and a green light from above, had this effect on soldiers.
Phillips added, "I asked soldiers where they felt permission had come from.
"They said it was the nullification of the Geneva Convention.
"George Bush's administration said that common Article 3 [of the Geneva convention], the protection of prisoners, was essentially abolished for Al Qaida and the Taliban."
Visit Socialist Worker to read the interview in full.