Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yes, waterboarding IS torture

You really must read this post by Mark Shea in which the CIA's waterboarding technique is discussed. Then you must go and read the whole article that Mark is quoting from:

Interrogators pumped detainees full of so much water that the CIA turned to a special saline solution to minimize the risk of death, the documents show. The agency used a gurney "specially designed" to tilt backwards at a perfect angle to maximize the water entering the prisoner's nose and mouth, intensifying the sense of choking – and to be lifted upright quickly in the event that a prisoner stopped breathing.

The documents also lay out, in chilling detail, exactly what should occur in each two-hour waterboarding "session." Interrogators were instructed to start pouring water right after a detainee exhaled, to ensure he inhaled water, not air, in his next breath. They could use their hands to "dam the runoff" and prevent water from spilling out of a detainee's mouth. They were allowed six separate 40-second "applications" of liquid in each two-hour session – and could dump water over a detainee's nose and mouth for a total of 12 minutes a day. Finally, to keep detainees alive even if they inhaled their own vomit during a session – a not-uncommon side effect of waterboarding – the prisoners were kept on a liquid diet. The agency recommended Ensure Plus.

Marc Thiessen has been saying everywhere that "our" kind of waterboarding isn't torture at all, that "our" kind of waterboarding is merely "enhanced interrogation," that "our" kind of waterboarding fits perfectly well with Catholic teaching and that Catholics can approve of it in good conscience. After all, we waterboarded our own troops in training, right?

Let's see about that:

Though public, the hundreds of pages of documents authorizing or later reviewing the agency's "enhanced interrogation program" haven't been mined for waterboarding details until now. While Bush-Cheney officials defended the legality and safety of waterboarding by noting the practice has been used to train U.S. service members to resist torture, the documents show that the agency's methods went far beyond anything ever done to a soldier during training. U.S. soldiers, for example, were generally waterboarded with a cloth over their face one time, never more than twice, for about 20 seconds, the CIA admits in its own documents.

These memos show the CIA went much further than that with terror suspects, using huge and dangerous quantities of liquid over long periods of time. The CIA's waterboarding was "different" from training for elite soldiers, according to the Justice Department document released last month. "The difference was in the manner in which the detainee's breathing was obstructed," the document notes. In soldier training, "The interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth (on a soldier's face) in a controlled manner," DOJ wrote. "By contrast, the agency interrogator ... continuously applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee's mouth and nose."

Please go and read the whole article. If you still think waterboarding isn't torture, I think the burden of proof that it somehow isn't, is on you.


  1. Pro-torture shift to a new line of argument in 3....2....1.

    Well, even if it *is* torture, it's for a good purpose and besides it's not absolutely identical to medieval waterboarding and plus it works and also it isn't as bad as abortion and beside you'll sing a different tune when the next 9/11 happens, etc ad nauseam.

  2. So, Jasper doesn't have any argument. Anybody else?

  3. Jasper never has any arguement. He simply has contempt for the teaching of the Church when it gets in the way of what he imagines will save his skin.