November 07, 2007
10 years ago
Waterboarding is Torture… Period
It's hard to stand on the high ground when it's slowly being eroded under your feet.
I thought waterboarding was torture because it made people believe that they are going to die. I figured that if someone underwent waterboarding as an experiment that they would not think it was torture because they knew they were not going to die. So I found Daniel Levin's experience and opinion in the main link to be interesting. I am not saying that I didn't think waterboarding is torture. I have never experienced it, so I can't say what I think. But Levin's opinion is very interesting to me.
When the Iraq war was being debated in the UN, some called it the UN's failure, but others said it was their finest hour, as people were debating the legitimacy of war itself. Perhaps the same thing can be said of the waterboarding debate -- it may show a complete moral bankruptcy on the part of the administration, or it may be a high point, as people are discussing what makes for torture and what doesn't. And as long as leaders say "it's not because we say it isn't" or "I don't know enough to form an opinion", which answer it is is pretty clear.
We tend to associate "torture" with pain, disfigurement, dismemberment, anything that creates a need to make it stop, which operatives would be trained to handle. Waterboarding leaves no marks on the body. It initiates a base human response to "fight for the surface" when there is none, and even jedi mind tricks would find it hard to deal with that, as it's basal, hindbrain "fight or flight" behaviour, so it's not even psychological, and not being afraid of death wouldn't counter it. So it could be debated there is no actual physical pain involved. So if it isn't torture, what is it?
Is it acceptable for the "enemy" to do it to captured American soldiers or officers?
Water boarding was designated as illegal by U.S. generals in Vietnam 40 years ago. A photograph that appeared in The Washington Post of a U.S. soldier involved in water boarding a North Vietnamese prisoner in 1968 led to that soldier's severe punishment. "The soldier who participated in water torture in January 1968 was court-martialed within one month after the photos appeared in The Washington Post, and he was drummed out of the Army," recounted Darius Rejali, a political science professor at Reed College. Earlier in 1901, the United States had taken a similar stand against water boarding during the Spanish-American War when an Army major was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for water boarding an insurgent in the Philippines. "Even when you're fighting against belligerents who don't respect the laws of war, we are obliged to hold the laws of war," said Rejali. "And water torture is torture."
Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk. "Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told his colleagues last Thursday during the debate on military commissions legislation. "We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II," he said.
And from here
Comes from the Inquisition, huh? Pretty much the gold standard for torture, there...
So it could be debated there is no actual physical pain involved.
I would imagine that forcibly filling the lungs with. water, then emptying them, then filling them again, etc., is indeed a painful experience. From homunculus's link:
Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word. Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral. Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.
That doesn't sound painless to me.
Anyone who says it's OK to use on others should have to undergo it himself first. Period. Bastards.
They apparently used to make Navy SEALS undergo it, but it was deemed too damaging to their morale. Pussies.
Pentagon Bars Anti-Torture Marine From Testifying
Nance, Kleinman, and Waterboarding: The Remix
The top legal adviser within the US state department, who counsels the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, on international law, has declined to rule out the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding even if it were
applied by foreign intelligence services on US citizens
So, yup, the US government's position is that torturing US citizens is fine.
Senators and Representatives Could Have Spoken Out On Waterboarding: the Constitution Protects Their Right to Speak Out Without Fear of Legal Consequences
Yes, but.... They're complacent assholes. There's no constitutional amendment that overcomes that.
CIA man defends waterboarding
Why Can't the Attorney General Simply Concede that Waterboarding is Torture?
A few times can't hurt, can it??
Torture, Same As It Ever Was
McCain Torture Endorsement Lost Amid Media Sex Scandal Frenzy
Aah, McCain. The more I know about you, the less I like. (Not that we really know that much about Obama. But at least he has principles. Unknown principles, but principles.)
I'm thinkin' we really, really don't need a liability like McCain anywhere NEAR Washington. How the hell do these people get into a position of power anyway??
He's an old fool with the freaking mumps. And the U.S. should vote accordingly.
Taxi to the Dark Side
wins best documentary.
Bush vetoes bill banning waterboarding
More Tortured Reasoning