06/24/2005 08:08 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Doctors as Torturers

The word Orwellian has become inadequate to describe what’s going on at Gitmo. We now have physicians advising on and observing torture. I guess that once you suspend the Geneva Convention anything is possible.

I was once the wife of a psychiatrist drafted into the US Army during the Viet Nam War. I know that there’s always the right way and the Army way. The Viet Nam war caused army doctors to learn special skills—like counseling victims of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or counseling the children of personnel who were traumatized or helping adolescents to deal with the distress of moving every two years when their parents were transferred. . . But never in my three years as a medical officer’s wife did I hear of trained specialists assisting torturers. Every time we think we have reached a new low, we go even lower.

Of course Nazi Germany asked doctors to experiment with Jews--thrusting them into freezing water, performing useless operations without anesthesia. But they were Nazis and we’re Americans in love with liberty. Right? Also the Nazis thought Jews were subhuman so they got no benefit of empathy. So now we’re doing that to Muslims. The Attorney General, Mr. Gonzales, approves. At least we’re not torturing Latinos. His ox is not currently being gored. The President and Vice President think Gitmo is just swell. Cheney depicts it as a kind of Health Spa in the tropics.

What can an American prisoner expect when captured if this is how we treat our captives? And most of them are charged with no crime.

We have not only suspended the Geneva Convention, we have also suspended the Hippocratic oath: “first, do no harm.”