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Roxana Saberi: What If?

May 14, 2009


Andrew Sullivan asks some hypothetical questions and makes a profound point:

We appear to be nearing a happy ending in the case of Roxana Saberi, the American journalist detained by Iran and accused of being a spy. But ask yourself this hypothetical and distressing question.

If Saberi had confessed on Iranian television that she was a spy, and if the New York Times discovered that prior to this confession, she had been kept in solitary confinement in freezing temperatures, had been slammed against a wall twenty times in a row, and had then been shackled from the ceiling for days in such a way that the pain was excruciating, and had been blasted in her cell with extremely loud noises to keep her from sleeping for a week …

… do you think the New York Times would report that she had been “tortured”? Or would they adhere to their current practice and say she had been subject to “harsh interrogation”?

If the leaders of Iran publicly stated that they had succeeded in proving that she was indeed a spy and her confession showed it, would Dick Cheney believe them? And would Bill O’Reilly proudly argue that the Saberi case proves that “harsh interrogation” “works”?


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