Waterboarding is Torture

Waterboarding is torture. That is my opinion.

However I was witness to an interesting discussion on Bill O Reilly's No Spin Factor which brought an interesting aspect of the debate on waterboarding into account.

I recall that actually this point was initially brought up by a female listener of his program. Her point? She defines the limits of what should be allowed in interrogations as being that which she would subject the interrogatee to in order to save her own kids. This point was broadened by Bill to his contention that each Presidential candidate should be asked how they would conduct interrogations if their own children's lives were at stake.

Sorry Bill. Interesting point, however I think that if we adopted the woman's definition of what is allowed we would slip way past what most of us define as torture.

To save the lives of my children?

OK, let's say we have two accomplices that I am 99% certain have information that if they would surrender it, would save my kids from otherwise certain death. What would I do?

I would tie up one of them in a chair so that he was forced to witness what was happening as I questioned the first one to be subjected to active interrogation. I would start off the active interrogation mildly. Polite questions with a humane period allowing for voluntary surrender of the information I needed. But if the information was not surrendered while being "nice"?

Stage two: mean and nasty rapidly graduating to cruel and inhuman. Perhaps I would start out with some of the measures that have been identified as already being utilized by our government. However some of these measures take time to wear the interrogatee down. If time was critical I imagine it would not take me very long to graduate to more effective measures of inflicting pain. Ripping out fingernails? Yup. Pulling teeth without novacaine? Yup. Using a hammer to smash his fingers and toes? Yup. You get the idea. After I was done and all that was left of the interrogatee was a quivering, trembling mass of flesh that no longer resembles anything human, I might execute him by putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger.

Then I would turn to the second interrogatee and give him a choice. "You saw what happened to your buddy, which method would you like to endure first?"

Now that is what I would do. I would not be deterred by threats of prison. I am fairly certain that I would be willing to lay down my own life for the life of one of my children. I do not think I would be deterred only by my interrogation methods being illegal.

I do not think the proposed measurement of what should be allowed is a good yardstick to use. If that is the measurement, then I guess we would certainly have to cross the line into making it legal to interrogate using the most cruel and painful interrogation techniques possible. Techniques that EVERYONE understands is certainly torture.

I do not think it should be legal to utilize "all the above" methods of interrogation. Nice try Bill O Reilly, but no cigar. Anyone who uses such methods should be subject to a trial by jury. Perhaps the jury will forgive him. If the jury finds him guilty? Well, there would remain the hope for a Presidential pardon.

Waterboarding is torture. Torture should be illegal. But that is just my opinion.


Blogger Boris Epstein said...


I think you may be using a wrong premise - namely, that whatever brutality you are contemplating can be reasonably expected to be an effective interrogation accelerant. Little if any evidence exists to support that notion. Yes, you can torture somebody to the point they will say whatever they believe you want to hear. That, however, is not guaranteed to be the truth - not even close.

12/12/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...

There is much evidence that torture is effective in getting information out of interrogatees. The information received might be suspect, not useful in a court of law to convict someone for example, however that does not mean nothing of value can be uncovered.

The interrogatee might not yield "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth", however some valuable information might be surrendered.

If you want to see the evidence for yourself you only need to read several of the articles that have appeared on the NY Times and Washington Post websites where the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes have been reported on. Several people that have had access to and who have had the chance to evaluate the information yielded say the information was useful.

12/13/2007 08:06:00 AM  

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