Friday, October 27, 2006


I've heard the term "waterboarding" used many times. Some call it torture, some call it coercive interrogation.

Hell, I don't even know what it is.

I've heard that it somehow simulates drowning, or that it makes the detainee feel like he's drowning, but I had no idea what it looks like.

Want to see what it looks like? Here's a video of a former special forces guy volunteering to undergo waterboarding, under the control of two professional interrogators, while the camera rolls.

Decide for yourself. Torture? or just coercive interrogation?

If this unsettles you, and you think it's wrong, do you think your mind would change if it was your family who was threatened, or had been killed, by terrorists?

If you think this isn't a big deal since the individual isn't really drowning, do you think police should be able to interrogate this way?

OK. Now, having seen what waterboarding really entails, decide for yourself if it's a "dunk in the water" and if the Vice President approved of its use in the referenced interview.

To me, this is a clear case of anti-Bush, anti-Cheney, liberal media bias. I'm sure the libs will have no doubt that Cheney was referring specifically and only to waterboarding when he answered the reporter's question about a "dunk in the water".


Cameron said...

It is obviously torture. I thought so when I saw it, and then I went on wikipedia:
"Waterboarding is a type of torture used in coercive interrogations or for punishment."

If terrorists killed my family, that still would not be a good reason for a third party to use torture. Maybe if I did it myself, and got some satisfaction out of it. Actually, no, if I did it myself I'd feel terrible about it after.

Wikipedia also has this to say:
"The physical effects of poorly executed waterboarding can be extreme pain and damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and sometimes broken bones because of the restraints applied to the struggling victim. The psychological effects can be longlasting."

In fact, the United States has prosecuted people before, for using waterboarding as torture! Ah, but if it's for prisoners, then of course it's perfectly okay.

The most important point is: Torture does not stop terrorism. If terrorists are willing to die for their country, then torture should not be a problem for them.

Darren said...

1. I don't give a damn if Wikipedia says it's torture or not. I could just as easily modify Wikipedia to say it's not torture.

2. Apparently, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed lasted about 25 seconds before he started singing like a canary. There have been others. No attacks in the US in the last 5 years. Coincidence? I can't be sure.

Darren said...

Oh, and dying is a lot easier than suffering.

And you notice that the bigwigs are more than willing to let other people die, but not themselves. I didn't see Osama, or Dr. Z, or Zarqawi strapping on any suicide belts.

Carson said...

There are people at Rio that deserve that kind of pain... Kind of kidding.
Torture is a word without a definite meaning, I could say Mr.Millers chap 5 test is torture but it doesnt make it wrong. I think that the scum of the world deserve punishment and that looks fine to me.

Anonymous said...

Waterboarding is used in SERE training for US Navy pilots. If we can use the technique for training members of our own military, I think it should be OK for our enemies, too.

Thorndog said...

In my view, torute does not stop terrorism, but if you have a terrorist who say knew about 9/11 before it happened, I believe torture would be an effective method for getting information out of the subject. You cannot simply ask him to tell you what he knows or give him a lollipop, these people will go to extreme lengths to hide the truth. We can all agree torture is wrong, but like it said in the movie clip, it isnt black and white. If you had this terrorist not willing to tell about his plot before 9/11, the outcome is horrendous. I believe the suffering of one human being is A LOT better than the suffering of thousands of other humans. We would all feel better if 9/11 had not occurred at the expense of one human being.

Darren said...

I'm not so utilitarian as to think, as Mr. Spock did, that the needs of the many (always) outweight the needs of the few (or the one), but horrific situations might sometimes call for horrific measures.

Even Hillary Clinton thinks that such actions should be "safe, legal, and rare."

Robert said...

I thought waterboarding was going to be one of those new events at the summer Olympics or the X Games.

(Sorry. Needed to break the tension. And pay no attention to the fact that the next summer olympics are in Beijing...)

parentalcation said...


Its pretty obvious that the VP was referring to waterboarding when he answered the "dunk in the water" question. To argue he wasn't is equivalent to Clinton making his week "sexual relations" argument.

As to whether waterboarding should be used... I am rather conflicted. I believe our country should hold itself to higher moral standards than the rest of the world. Unfortunately you bring up a good point when you ask the "ticking time bomb" argument. My thinking has always been to allow it under these conditions under one condition. If used and it results in false information or torture of an innocent person, then the people who made the decision to authorize it should be punished. This would ensure that any decision to pursue torture (and waterboarding is torture) would not be taken lightly.

The other thought I have, is that the same people who argue that torture is justified to save lives, negotiation with hostage takers isn't. We don't negotiate with hostage takers because we know that this would only encourage them to see kidnapping as a successful ploy, even if it results in the killing of innocent civilians. It may not be a completely parallel example, but it does show that we are willing to sacrifice for the great principle.

Having said all this, if I thought someone had information that would save my family... God have mercy on them if I was to get hold of them.

Ultimately I am glad that this debate is taking place in a public forum. Whether or not people differ about whether waterboarding is justified, I think most civilized people can agree, that the government should not have the unchecked ability to make decisions outside the publics view. >insert slippery slope argument here<

Darren said...

When one considers that waterboarding is *not* a "dunk in the water", I don't see how it's "obvious" that waterboarding is what the VP referred to.

Anonymous said...

What else would the reporter have been referring to other than waterboarding when asking about a "dunk in the water"? In my opinion Cheney was referring to waterboarding when he said it was a "no-brainer." If I saw the whole interview I might change my mind, but in the context of that exchange, it seems clear that Cheney knew what the reporter was talking about. I don't think that he is necessarily a person who supports all forms of torture. I think that's what people misinterpreted. It's Cheney's opinion, and I don't think he's a bad person for feeling that way. He may simply think that waterboarding is acceptable.

I have to disagree. I was pretty disturbed by the video- I skipped about half of the parts showing the guy wriggling about on the table.

If terrorists killed my family, sure, I would want them to get interrogated. I would want people to use "coercive interrogation" where the person interrogated is subjected to certain amounts of discomfort. Waterboarding just seems a little too harsh. Granted, it is difficult to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable torture techniques, but I suppose that's for legislators to decide. And to answer your question about police using these techniques- I don't think they should be able to. There's a difference between a common criminal and a terrorist.

And I don't think this is the liberal media talking, spouting off anti-Bush or anti-Cheney remarks. I think it is a story that simply questions the administration's feelings about torture and their plans for approval of different techniques. No harm, no foul.

George said...

Classic line to ask afterwards: Can we get you something to drink?

Anonymous said...

How would you feel if this was done to your child?

Darren said...

I wouldn't like it.

I also wouldn't like it if he got the death penalty for murdering someone. That doesn't make the death penalty unjust.