Blog post

Joshua Phillips interviewed for Guernica

Julie McCarroll10 January 2011

Chris Lombardi of Guernica magazine interviews Joshua Phillips on the left media's standard torture story, untrained soldiers making it up as they go, and becoming a suicide hotline. In the interview, Phillips, the author of None of Us Were Like This Before, describes some alarming changes in attitudes toward torture that he's observed taking place in the military over a number of years:

I visited West Point classes in early 2009 and I visited a class where they openly discussed using torture for interrogation. I'd been told worrisome stories by some instructors about cadets who argued for torture after 9/11, saying "we have to change our protocols because the paradigm has shifted with these suicide bombers." The professor was telling them no, the paradigm hasn't shifted. Remember kamikaze suicide bombers? The cadets would make arguments using anecdotes about "times torture worked," none of which has ever been proven. So much of that stuff is folklore and anecdotal success stories, lacking any corroboration or verifiable facts. That's what the Bush administration was selling.

But when I went to West Point in 2009, the cadets that I heard from were all providing extremely strong and articulate arguments against torture. They'd seen a documentary from Human Rights First featuring some interrogators. Just like the military interrogators I've met, and Pentagon officials who took the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture seriously. One thing this book has done is give me an even greater respect for the U.S. military.

But while we have these admirable institutional concepts and beliefs against torture, you have very powerful influential leaders saying we did it and it worked!

Visit Guernica to read the interview in full.

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