Confounding all conventional wisdom and human experience, many liberal groups and even some medical experts have argued for Terri Schiavo’s death. They claim that starvation and dehydration are not painful or discomforting for her or anyone undergoing the experience.
In fact, they allege that such victims begin to experience "euphoria" as the victims draw close to death.
If such claims are true, we may have to rewrite the history of such notorious events as the Holocaust – where starvation was the key process by which millions died and were later placed in crematoriums.
The internationally accepted Geneva Convention – which identifies starvation as a war crime – also will have to be rewritten. Ditto for many statements made by reputable organizations, many of them liberal, that have condemned the practice for decades.
Remember that statement about politics making strange bedfellows? Perhaps such is the case with liberal activists who want Terri to die from starvation and the Nazis who killed 13 million people.
As it turns out, starvation was the primary means of killing unwanted peoples.
Shortly after World War II, a U.S. congressional committee investigated the Nazi Holocaust and found that starvation was the main instrument of torture in the concentration camps.
The Committee notes the prisoners' daily diet "consisted generally of about one-half of a pound of black bread per day and a bowl of watery soup for noon and night, and not always that."
The report continued: "Notwithstanding the deliberate starvation program inflicted upon these prisoners by lack of adequate food, we found no evidence that the people of Germany as a whole were suffering from any lack of sufficient food or clothing. The contrast was so striking that the only conclusion which we could reach was that the starvation of the inmates of these camps was deliberate."
If we believe the New York Times, what’s so bad about the Nazis' starvation tactic?
A Times article relating to Schiavo’s death cited several "experts” who offered the new view on starvation.
"From the data that is available, it is not a horrific thing at all," Dr. Linda Emanuel, the founder of the Education for Physicians in End-of-Life Care Project at Northwestern University, told the New York Times.
The Times also cites Dr. Sean Morrison, a professor of geriatrics and palliative care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who insists that starvation victims "generally slip into a peaceful coma."
"It's very quiet, it's very dignified – it's very gentle," he adds.
Despite the Times' desire to turn the truth upside down, the facts speak for themselves:
To begin with, there is the long-standing and internationally accepted Geneva Convention: "The prohibition to starve civilians as a ‘method of warfare’ is included in Article 54 of Protocol I and Article 14 of Protocol II."
According to the International Criminal Court, starvation as a means of killing is a war crime. The Court noted: "Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions' is a serious violation of the laws and customs of war ."
The liberal human rights organization Amnesty International has long cited starvation as inhumane. For example, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the group claimed that "scores of civilian deaths, predominantly among children, from starvation and injuries [were] sustained during the conflict."
Amnesty International stated at the time that it "condemns in the strongest terms the use of starvation as a weapon of war against civilians as a clear and serious violation of Geneva Conventions that Laos has ratified."
Amnesty International also blasted North Korea after the U.N. reported that some 2 million North Koreans have died from starvation, adding that in total, 50 percent of the population doesn't have enough to eat.
Work And Progress, a liberal Web site, was critical of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in 2001, and even claimed the U.S. military action there had caused up to 7.5 million Afghans to be threatened with starvation. The site went on to note: "Starvation is, quite literally, torturous. And the equation will seem just about right to many people: the atrocity that the U.S. government is willing to subject a handful of people to on U.S. soil, it is willing to subject millions to in some far off land."
In 2001, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, offered up House Resolution 102, backed by three other lawmakers, noting that during World War II, many of the 18,745 American soldiers captured during the war "were subjected to barbaric prison conditions and endured torture, starvation, and disease" by the Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan. The treatment of American POWs "violated international human rights principles," said the resolution.
In a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, regarding the "Definition of the Right to Food," the commission recommended "the right to food and nutrition was a human right." The commission also advocated "the right to food in emergency situations" should "be taken into account," to "include the obligation of states to grant access to impartial humanitarian organizations to provide food aid and other humanitarian assistance."
The New York Times may well be remembered as the newspaper that was most outraged over photos of Iraqi terrorist suspects being mistreated by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison – but claimed that starvation was a benevolent way to die.
Of course, if the Times is right – and starvation causes "little discomfort" – the paper may have uncovered a valuable new tool in the war on terror.
One wonders how the Old Gray Lady would react if U.S. interrogators began to starve terrorist suspects in a bid to extract information.