The Definition of Torture

Yesterday on “The View,” Meghan McCain expressed her displeasure with the use of “torture facilities” for the detention center used for migrant children in Clint, Texas. During the heated debate, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin tried to get McCain to understand that the focus should not be on how we describe the centers, but on what’s happening to the children in them.

“We should care about the dead kids coming out of them,” Hostin said.

However, in traditional Meghan McCain fashion, she kept berating her point about not calling detention centers torture facilities because she’s “been to an actual torture facility.” McCain said that the use of the word torture is hyperbole when it comes to the living conditions of migrant children in the detention centers, and we shouldn’t keep describing them that way.

My first question for Meghan is do you have children? My next question is have you ever watched how they responded when you left them and they didn’t know when you were coming back? Or if you were coming back? I’m a mom, and I know the fear, anxiety, stress and trauma seeming abandonment can impose on a child. Have you ever encountered a child who was lost and couldn’t find their parents? Have you seen their panic? This story doesn’t compare to the what migrant children are facing in detention centers, but I remember when my 4-year old got trapped in the bathroom at the gym while I was working out. The workers weren’t paying attention, and she got trapped in the bathroom with the lights off. She was banging on the door hysterically, screaming and crying. She was deathly afraid. Now, imagine the panic and fear these children face sleeping on concrete floors behind fences and in the dark without their parents? It’s torture Meghan.

 Also, after interviewing hundreds of those children, they confirmed what many of us already suspected. The children said they have been physically and sexually abused in these centers. Abuse combined with the unsanitary living conditions like sleeping on concrete floors, babies with no diapers, open toilets, no soap and not knowing when you’ll ever see your mom and dad again sure sound like torture to me. I can remember times when I dropped my children off in the care of someone else and hearing their cries and sometimes screams because they didn’t want to be without mommy. These children haven’t seen their parents for weeks; they’re living in dangerous and unsanitary conditions and being subject to abuse.  

The back-and-forth between Meghan and the ladies on “The View” is the perfect example of how these horrible injustices go unresolved because people get caught up in the superficial nuances of what’s actually happening. The point is, Meghan, that children are suffering. They need to be returned to their parents. The behavior and zero-tolerance immigration policy of this administration is deplorable, and something needs to be done about it today.  

Comments (2)

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    John Marchese


    I would add that the intent of such separation is to force parents to make a decision they would not otherwise choose. Such coercive intent meets an internationally accepted definition of torture.


  • Avatar

    REgina Bannan


    Excellent post.


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