Barbara Woodhouse: stormtrooper


I have a bad dog. He’s bad to the bone. With bad dogs, talking is not enough. To avoid future disaster you must be firm.

So I tie my dog up. Keep him in one position, preferably half-standing, half- sitting. Not so his legs will break or anything, but just so that after the first hour he starts to whimper a little. I tell him he’s a bad dog. I say ‘tell’. I mean ‘shout’. Sometimes I cover his eyes, sometimes I cover his whole head with a bag and pour water over it. He usually freaks out a little, barks like crazy (not a good idea when you’re tied up) — probably thinks he’s going to die. But then he probably thinks that when I pretend I’m going to let a bigger dog bite him. Dogs are so stupid. But if you’re going to get results you have to deprive them of light and sound for hours, exposing them to uncomfortable extremes of temperature. Isn’t that what Barbara Woodhouse advised in her book ‘Sit! Or I’ll Kill You’?

Please don’t start writing a letter. The dog has not been harmed. In fact, it doesn’t exist. It’s a metaphor. And I will do whatever I please with my metaphors. That’s what they’re phor. Ahaha.

You’re horrified? Well how do you feel about interrogating terror suspects? Because what I mentioned above are just some of the approved methods of interrogation (not torture) officially employed by the USA, our partners in the war on those who would attack the values and principles of our society. Actually last week they announced ‘waterboarding’ (making prisoners believe they’re about to drown) is no longer allowed. Progressive.

Last week saw two prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay. Hallelujah. But it also saw one of our senior politicians trying to move us closer to our American allies in terms of how much we limit rights and freedoms to fight terror.

Last week Italy started legal proceedings against some local officials and several CIA operatives who allegedly kidnapped people from Italian soil as part of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (it’s kidnapping, not just bad karaoke) to countries with a more permissive attitude towards torture. The Americans are being tried in absentia. What’s odd is that I haven’t heard too many voices here calling for their extradition to Italy. Strange. The previous week, when we were talking about Andrei Lugovoy (the alleged Litvinenko killer), Vlad Putin was given rather a hard time about it all.

And last week also saw the Scottish parliament agree to examine evidence for similar complicity in kidnappings on our own soil. A CIA spokesman said last week that there were many myths about the war on terror. He did not, however, provide an answer to groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International or New York University’s Centre for Human Rights about why 39 people listed as having been detained for terror questioning have disappeared. That’s a lot of news. Odd that there’s no page for this on the Sun’s Sun Justice campaign area.

Why do I mention all this? Because I think we care more about dogs than we do about human beings. Because if half the things happening to ‘persons of a middle-eastern appearance’ who’ve been found guilty of no crime were happening to puppies, it would be on the front page of the Sun and many of us would have demanded it was stopped.

But hey, I’m a Christian. So this year I only really care about climate change and human trafficking. In the absence of a rally or petition I’m off to walk my metaphor.

(No dogs were harmed in the writing of this column, but I did torture an Afghan. Is that okay?)

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One Response

  1. […] Barbara Woodhouse: stormtrooper […]

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