Open Thread — Baptism or torture?

h2o poster

Comments

  1. It is torture and we shouldn’t do it. Why? Because we are the moral standard of the world. Once we reduce ourselves to torture we have become the very thing we are fighting against. It is morally and ethically unacceptable and we should hold ourselves to a higher calling no matter what.

    There are also a number of studies that show great evidence that torture is an ineffective method of interrogation anyways. I wrote an entire article on the topic http://wp.me/psW0l-mf.

    • Why is it torture? What about it qualifies it as torture, and in what way is it similar to other methods of torture which aren’t contrasted?

      • I think it’s torture because those who have tried it say it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9TzGGsVt60

        I think it’s torture because those who have been tortured say it is. http://bit.ly/10VLG8l

        • I say broccoli is disgusting because people who have had it say it is. I have had broccoli and say it is.

          • R. Nash says:

            Yes it is torture, A) because it is a “forced” action that causes undeniable physical and mental stress, B) it debases the moral standing of the torturer and it dehumanizes the one being tortured.

            Here is another question for you to not answer, unless you have more morally illiterate broccoli analogies for us: Would you personally be willing to torture anyone? Or are you just another average conservative who is willing to support torture by proxy?

            So now that I have answered your question………..

            1) Would Jesus waterboard someone to meet an end?

            2) The standards of torture”? Where do we find those? Who wrote them?

            3) If you saw your neighbor doing this to his 3 year old child for misbehaving, or just for shits and giggles, would you just go back in the house and start banging away on the keyboard?

            4) Do you believe in using torture as punishment/revenge/retribution for crimes committed? Would you bring back the rack for certain people or crimes?

            • One could argue prison meets your definition.

              But to your point, Jesus would have no need to torture.

              I would not torture someone because torture is wrong, but I would waterboard someone because that is not torture.

              No 3 year old could ever do anything which would warrant it to be waterboarded, but also the govt didn’t waterboard for the fun of it, so this is a useless question.

              Again, actual torture is wrong and so it also would be to use it for a punishment. But even waterboarding shouldn’t be used for punishment, that isn’t its purpose, so it would be a misuse.

              • R. Nash says:

                1) No one has or is arguing that prison meets the same criteria as waterboarding. You are all alone in trying to compare the two.

                2) But would Jesus the humble man torture? Try answering the question without leveraging the supposed omniscient aspect of his being. How many “teaching” moments in the bible does Jesus waterboard/torture anyone to either extract information or to punish?

                3) Please prove that waterboarding is not torture. And are you saying that “you” would take it personally upon yourself to torture/waterboard someone?

                4) What age is it appropriate to waterboard? A 4 year old recently shot a woman in TN. Is 4 old enough? Or maybe 6, 8? Why the delineation as to the crime or behavior? So if a 4 yo did something heinous enough then waterboarding/torture is ok?

                Further, if waterboarding, in your opinion, is not torture, then why was it, and a number of other torture techniques done off of US soil under the 8 years of Bush’s reign?

                I have to seriously consider the lack of moral standing when someone thinks that waterboarding and all of the fear and pain it induces, is not only not torture but a-ok for children.

              • Nash

                You know I never said it was OK for children and so does everyone else.

                Waterboarding was only considered torture when Obama became president. Prior to even democrats were asking publicly if we were doing enough. Those public opinion polls blow the wind strong, huh.

                I’m also not comparing prison and waterboarding, based on your definition, some people would consider prison to fit your definition.

              • R. Nash says:

                We all really want to know John at what age is waterboarding ok, or for what behavior/crime? You specified that a 3 yo could not act in a way or do a certain thing that would warrant waterboarding.
                Who dictates when waterboarding is ok for a certain age/behavior? You? Or the mysterious “standards” you mentioned above?
                And further, if waterboarding is not torture then why not use it to punish children or use it to determine if they are lying etc?

                And for a great many of us, public opinion polls have been irrelevant concerning not only torture but a great many other things. And your claim that it was torture only once Obama took office is also wrong. Again, why did we only use it overseas if it was the same as cuddling?

                A sheriff in Texas was convicted for using waterboarding in 1981 and sentenced to 10 years……I wonder why?

              • Waterboarding is acceptable to apply to known terrorists who are known to possess vital information regarding future planned terrorist attacks. You can pretend that I am suggesting it’s OK to waterboard kids but you know it isn’t true and that it’s the only way you think you can “win” the discussion: to distort my view.

                What I will say is that if you continue to exaggerate and misrepresent my views, I’ll just ignore you.

              • R. Nash says:

                But I thought that when I answered your question you would answer mine?

                I asked half a dozen questions that apparently painted your premise into a corner.

                But alas there is always the ignoring as a tactic.

              • You asked a half a dozen questions? I didnt realize that. They seemed like rhetorical posturing premised on misrepresenting and exaggerating my views. Thats not the same as asking real questions. I’m not playing games or indulging your inability to have a meaningful discussion on a topic we obviously disagree on.

              • R. Nash says:

                Seriously, I even numbered them. How does asking what the “standards of torture” are, come off as posturing? What exaggeration has been made by asking you to clarify your own statement?
                I think your inability to have a meaningful discussion is clouded by your obvious bias. And seemingly that you have not thought much about the subject much less been tortured or have done any torturing yourself. It sounds as if pundits and right wing polemics have been parroted on the subject.

                I would start with these succinct statements from Maj. Gen. Miller and R. Mueller, FBI Director on the issue. ”

                However, after coercive (i.e waterboarding) practices were banned, interrogators in Iraq saw an increase of 50 percent more high-value intelligence. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the American commander in charge of detentions and interrogations, stated “a rapport-based interrogation that recognizes respect and dignity, and having very well-trained interrogators, is the basis by which you develop intelligence rapidly and increase the validity of that intelligence. Others including Robert Mueller, FBI Director since 5 July 2001, have pointed out that despite former Bush Administration claims that waterboarding has “disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks”, they do not believe that evidence gained by the U.S. government through what supporters of the techniques call “enhanced interrogation” has disrupted a single attack and no one has come up with a documented example of lives saved thanks to these techniques.

  2. R. Nash says:

    Only on this site could you find someone thats ask’s “why is it torture”. I mean even the catholic church of all organizations says this is torture, albeit it took them until 1994 to get there.

    I would ask you John, would your Jesus do this to anyone?

    • I don’t think Jesus would have to do it, he’d know what he needs to know being omniscient and all. What does the church have to do with whether waterboarding is torture?

      I don’t think it meets the standards of torture, you might disagree. But that’s about all.

      It didn’t go unnoticed that instead of arguing for your point of view you used a rhetorical distraction which already presumed your view to be true.

      • R. Nash says:

        Nice “out” with the jesus being omniscient and all. Perfect way to not answer the question. And I find it hard to believe why you are asking me what the church has to do with it. Is that a rhetorical question? You claim the moral high ground all the time on every subject because of your religious affiliation, hence my raising your jesus as an example.

        As for “The standards of torture”? Where do we find those? Who wrote them?

        Let me ask John, if you saw your neighbor doing this to his 3 year old child for misbehaving, or just for shits and giggles, would you just go back in the house and start banging away on the keyboard?

        By the way waterboarding meets the “definition” of torture, even Christopher Hitchens agrees.

        Let me ask a different question. Do you believe in using torture as punishment for crimes committed? Would you bring back the rack for certain people or crimes?

  3. Torture is obviously in the eye of the beholder. For the leftist, anything that presents the least degree of discomfort to a prisoner is torture. Indeed, there is much that might be considered torturous by the person experiencing whatever example one wishes to highlight. Loud rap music played incessantly after 48 hours without sleep is torturous. To me, I could have arisen after 12 hours of restful sleep and 2 minutes of rap is torturous.

    There are many American soldiers who submit to waterboarding and I am not aware of any who have experienced lasting physical or psychological harm beyond the duration of the experience itself. Because of this, I don’t regard it as torture, despite how torturous it might feel to experience it. But here’s a tip: don’t engage in terrorism. Here’s another: answer questions truthfully if suspected of terrorism.

    Here’s something else to consider: To my knowledge, there have only been three instances of waterboarding by American authorities upon terrorist suspects and it has yielded actionable intel that saved lives. The suspects still live. So do the potential victims. A good trade. This shows that, at least to date, we have used this technique responsibly and only on those our knowledge and experience has determined the use warranted. As long as that continues, I’m entirely cool with waterboarding remaining on the table for use. BUT, take it off the table, and it won’t guarantee that it won’t ever be used. Bad people will always do what they want. Good people must sometimes do what otherwise would not be in order to save innocent lives.

  4. torture:
    the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.

    Undoubfully, it is torture.

  5. You miss “or to force them to do or say something”.

  6. I think it is worth mentioning that the US executed a number of Japanese soldiers for water-boarding US soldiers. So, it seems, even the United States Government considers it pretty unacceptable.

  7. I’m not well versed in the details, but it is my understanding that the manner in which the Japanese waterboarded prisoners was not identical to how we’ve done it to extract intel from terrorists. It was a different procedure with the same name. (I won’t swear to it, but that’s how I heard it.)

    • Marshall, you’re right. It wasn’t the same procedure. It was more like real drowning, some people died from it. That’s what makes it a different situation. I wouldn’t support the Japanese method of waterboarding

  8. I would encourage all those who say it isn’t torture to try it. Instead of guessing, why not try it? That way you’ll know.

    • I have no doubt the process feels “torturous” to the individual, but I don’t think that alone is enough to give it the classification. My daughter thinks doing the dishes is torture. My point in the comparison is that the one who’s dealing with it doesn’t get to define it. There needs to be an objective set of qualifications.

    • I would try it by the way so long as it was being done properly in the presence of medical professionals.

  9. Objective definition of torture:
    the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.

    Waterboarding for interrogation is an action of inflicting severe pain on someone to force them to say something so it is torture.

  10. Respiratory impairment is a painful experience, as one who suffers from asthma can tell.
    Drowning (and its effective simulation) is painful, that is what it is feared.

  11. Real or not real drowning, that’s irrelevant.
    The issue is the caused pain which is very real and drown-like.

  12. John,

    So your argument is, basically, that “torture” is in the eye of the beholder. Okay. But being whipped with chains isn’t torture to a masochist, so does that mean being whipped with chains isn’t torture in the general sense? No.

    Why do you need trained medical professionals around, John? If there is no inherent danger involved, why bother?

    • T

      No, I think real torture entails some sort of maiming or abuse which creates substantial physical harm, like leaving scars for example. Some might argue that bullying would cause psychological harm, but it’s not torture, even if it were to lead to suicide. Do we say the bully imposed real torture for giving wedgies and calling you a fag? No, usually not. I’m not saying that a governmental agency creating a protocol designed for psychological horror wouldn’t count, like say the last scene from 1984 where the cage with starving rats were put on Winston’s face.

      What I’m saying is I know what water boarding is, I know the process, I know what it entails and I don’t believe it rises to the level of torture. I’m not trying to justify something that is torture, I just don’t believe water boarding is.

  13. From the Christian perspective purely, I find it shocking that today’s Christian could even wonder if America should torture our prisoners of war. The fact that we are even asking this question should tell us how far from the path of Christ we have traveled. When even Christian people don’t know the appropriate answer…we truly are lost as a nation, as a world.

    There is no defense for toture. Jesus Christ would not approve of torture. No one can convince me otherwise. I’ve read the bible cover to cover more than a few times. I know the God I worship and I know the Lord who saved me. Jesus Christ does not advocate torture. The question itself is surreal.

    • Warrioress

      No one is defending torture. No one here said its OK to torture. Believing something isnt torture that you believe is, is not the same as condoning torture. This presumes you’re right with no argument making the case.

  14. Warrioress,

    You still must define the term, and more importantly, demonstrate that a given action falls under that definition. As the term is bandied about in discussions such as this one, there is far too much ambiguity. Anything that makes us uncomfortable can be labeled as torture, yet any given thing might be more tolerable for one than another.

    Extracting information from a prisoner requires some level of threat to the prisoner who is unwilling to simply tell all he knows upon the first asking. As soon as a threat is perceived, one can rightly call it torture. As the level of fear and discomfort of the prisoner increases, the label is more appropriate. Merely imprisoning someone, feeding that only barely nourishes, stark quarters and constant interrogation for hours under a hot lamp with people screaming the questions at you can be called torture.

    But most people, upon hearing the term, think of the rack, or fingernails rudely removed or burning with cigars or some such. The term applied to waterboarding pretty much came about as a way to smear George W. Bush and his determination to fight terrorism. The technique itself is uncomfortable, no doubt. But it’s really just a matter of intensity. The threat of drowning is implied, but not real. The prisoner even knows this, and as our people are only interested in getting info, and not killing or permanently harming anyone, one could conceivably withstand a prolonged episode (though most who’ve experienced it—I say most because I haven’t heard from all—acknowledge they weren’t up for trying to break any records for endurance).

    It must also be constantly stated that the use of harsher interrogation techniques are only used when a threat to the lives of others is believed to be real and the prisoner is believed to have info that can be used to prevent that imminent harm. I believe that we have people who are good at their jobs of deducing just when a prisoner is in possession of such knowledge and whether or not harsh interrogation techniques would be worth the effort of using them on a particular prisoner. I don’t believe, considering the potential lives at risk, that Jesus would have a problem if these were the conditions. The trade-off is too obvious and the profit is too important. A relatively brief period of intense discomfort for the lives of innocent people. I’d take my chances with the Lord every time.

  15. John,

    “Real matters. Getting fake shot doesn’t hurt like getting real shot does.”


    It is a real drowning of respiratory tract.
    Real pain matters.

    “I think real torture entails some sort of maiming or abuse which creates substantial physical harm”

    What about “There needs to be an objective set of qualifications”?
    Your subjectivity is irrelevant.

    According to you if we invent a machine that creates excruciating pain without causing maiming or physical harm and use it to get info, it wouldn’t be torture.
    But, objectively, it is torture.

  16. John,

    You fail to recognize that water-boarding can cause lasting physical damage. You also seem to discount the psychological damage it can cause. We are more than our bodies, John. We have a mind that is subject to pain and suffering as well, but you seem to suggest that psychological pain and suffering doesn’t qualify as a form of torture? Why? Because there are no visible scars? Most scars aren’t.

    You haven’t answered my question. You said you would agree to being water-boarded if there were trained medical professionals around, but if there is no inherent danger, then why would you want them around?

    • T

      I just haven’t been offered any argument suggesting there are lasting psychological scars, its not that we simply can’t see them. As I said earlier that I would consider something torture if it was devised for the purpose of wreaking psychological havoc.

      I would want a doctor present for two reasons. First doctors are present when the military conducted the EITs. Second, I do see there being a danger if the process were done improperly. But I don’t think that alone means I should opposed it.

  17. I tend to agree with TheWarrioress – at least in part.

    In the case of water-boarding, there is clearly doubt as to whether it qualifies as torture. There are sound arguments on both sides. But shouldn’t Christians err on the side of caution? I think so.

    Every human rights organizations on the planent that specializes in identifying and lobbying against torture has said water-boarding is torture. These organizations have witnessed the act, talked to victims, interrogators, and medical professionals. They have clearly identified water-boarding as torture. This by itself should give Christians some pause.

    • I agree that if it were a fine line we should err on the side of caution. I just don’t see the line as being that fine.

      I also am hesitant to take activists claims without thorough fact checking. I mean PETA has good intentions but their perception of reality is skewed. Every bad thing done is seen with exaggeration. That’s why advocacy groups and activists, for whatever position, have to be taken with light acceptance.

      • R. Nash says:

        Then, again John, why is waterboarding a child for anything at all, even with doctors present a question you have refused to answer? If waterboarding is not torture, leaves no lasting effects, then please tell me why I cannot waterboard my 2 1/2 year old for punching me in the coconuts. Or why I can’t waterboard him to extract information regarding the hiding of the tv remote or my guns.

        The delineation that you are making about terrorists, who might, or maybe do have vital information, is irrelevant to the question.

        If waterboarding is not torture why can’t we use it in civilian police departments or at home?

        If it is not torture, then why has every authority on the matter, excluding evangelical and heavily right leaning American patriots, been repeatedly vocal about it’s use, classification as torture and the need to do it off of US shores?

        And I can assure you that waterboarding is done frequently without the presence of any medical personnel at all.

        One last question: What other types of torture are not actually torture as per your definition?

        • Nash

          What you repeatedly fail to grasp is: 1) waterboarding is not a punishment. 2) a 2 1/2 year old is not morally culpable for anything and 3) just because something may be inappropriate for a child doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate for an adult. Sex is one example, prison is another, and waterboarding is a third. There are plenty of arguments someone could offer against waterboarding, but you just aren’t even thinking.

          • R. Nash says:

            But John, by your reasoning, there is absolutely no reason why I could or should not waterboard a child.

            Remove the punishment. Use the he “took my guns” argument and now I need to force him to tell me where they are. And now we get to the crux of it all, again.

            Why is it “inappropriate” for a child? Again I ask what if the child was 8? I mean the slipperiness of basing your premise on “moral culpability”, is intriguing. Why start with moral culpability as having any relevance when waterboarding is not torturous in even a minor way? That is what is at stake here.

            I could argue that an 8 year old could do something that meets your criteria. Unfortunately we see what can be done by children in the news all the time.

            Would it be ok to waterboard an 8 year old who was privy to operational knowledge, or was presumed to be? The age line is arbitrary, the moral line is subjective and now the “inappropriate” argument becomes invalidated because by your own admittance, several times over, waterboarding is not torture.

            So why isn’t it allowable on US soil or for children?

            • If you dont see the difference between an 8 year old and an adult terrorist who knows when, where, and how 100 people will die next, then I have no obligation to talk to you.

              You think you’re making a point, but it’s asinine and doesn’t actually deal with the issue.

  18. John,

    It’s obviously designed to influence a person to say something they otherwise don’t want to say. So the object of water-boarding by itself should tell you that it affects one’s psychological operations. And you must know that experiencing a drowning episode is psychologically damaging, or at least can be.

    The fact you want medical professionals means you recognize the inherent danger involved. Again, that should be enough to convince you that it’s not something the United States should be doing. What right does the United States Government have to expose someone to potentially deadly interrogation techniques without due process of law? None! They have no right.

    Plus, I don’t get how an interrogation technique can be potentially deadly, which you recognize, but not qualify as a form torture or be otherwise totally illegal. This boggles my mind.

    Your hesitancy to accept the opinion of an advocacy group would be valid if it was only one group, but it’s not. Every single one, John, has said water-boarding is torture.

  19. I can see both points, John & R. Nash.

    On one hand, if there is nothing wrong with water-boarding, then why can’t we waterboard an eight -year-old Pakistani terrorist? Or whatever.

    On the other hand, John has admitted that water-boarding is undoubtedly uncomfortable, and since eight-year-olds don’t have the same understanding and intellectual capabilities as adults, it might not be morally sound to subject them to physically uncomfortable interrogation scenarios, no matter the reward.

    Truthfully, I see both points.

    But R. Nash did ask a rather interesting question: If there is nothing wrong with water-boarding, why isn’t it allowed on U.S. soil? Shouldn’t it be?

  20. I have no problem with US authorities using waterboarding on criminal suspects believed to have knowledge of imminent lethal harm to others. The object in using the technique is to prevent that lethal harm from occurring. Subjecting an asshole who is part of a conspiracy to inflict deadly harm to waterboarding is a perfect trade-off if that conspiracy is thwarted, lives are saved and no lasting harm comes to the suspect. But guess what? I have no problem with lasting harm coming to anyone who involve themselves in plots to murder others. If we can get the same info by other means, with the clock ticking, then by all means, let’s do so. But I am not about to worry about the insignificant harm to a murderer versus the lasting death of other people. If a simple punch to the face will do it, I’m cool with that. If repeated punches are necessary, I’m cool with that. We’re talking about suspects that experts are certain possess knowledge of impending doom to others. We’re not talking about using harsh techniques for fishing expeditions. If you want to say that the law will prevent anyone from using what the law prohibits, guess again. I’d rather take abusers of harsh techniques to court when they use the techniques inappropriately.

    • R. Nash says:

      Well I mostly agree Marshallart. But the discourse isn’t about when or under what circumstances waterboarding could or should be used. It is about whether or not it is classified as torture.

      I think there is a real denial on the right in general, fueled by patriotic bravado and nationalism or an us vs them mentality, that propels many to not really investigate waterboarding honestly. The biases that shape their worldview enable them to make an exception, under very specific “ticking” time bomb” situations. Yet these are precisely not the majority of the circumstances in which waterboarding is being used.

      If waterboarding along with the use of electric shocks, hypothermia, being forced to stand up for 36 hours at a time, sleep deprivation alternating with electric shocks etc are not torture, then why did the CIA destroy over 100 videotapes in Nov 2005 depicting these acts and many others?

      Also why were they done at Udon Thani in Thailand (an obvious black site for the CIA) and not in DC or Ft. Hood or on live tv for all of the good folks to see?

      Further, if waterboarding is actually effective, then why was Abu Zubaydah waterboarded 83 times? Along with the use of shocks, food deprivation and sleep deprivation etc, all done in Thailand.

      General Miller and others have already proved conclusively that torture yields infinitely less quality operational information than standard interrogation techniques that don’e involve physical or mental abuse.

  21. Nash,

    If you want to waterboard your kid for taking and hiding the TV remote, I’d say you aren’t fit to be a parent. But you go ahead and do what you think is right, and let the chips fall where they may. I’m sure that will go over great with everybody.

    In the meantime, you can call waterboarding torture or you can call it no worse than a belly rub on a puppy. The point is the circumstances under which the technique is employed. If you think risking lives justifies allowing a scumbag to sit on actionable intel, then you are extremely morally challenged and I thank God you are not involved with such things personally.

    • R. Nash says:

      You have used the same evasion that this thread is rife with. And I think purposefully avoided the question.

      ((((“WHY”)))), is it inappropriate to waterboard a child if they know where they hid your guns?

      And, “If you think risking lives justifies allowing a scumbag to sit on actionable intel, then you are extremely morally challenged and I thank God you are not involved with such things personally”. This is not relevant to the conversation whatsoever.

      The CIA, FBI, Panetta and Mueller, all under BUSH/Cheney along with the US Army general in charge of advancing interrogation, all agree that waterboarding is tortue.

      And again, how about another example that makes the pro torture crowd get squirmy?

      Abu Zubaida was waterboarded 183 times. Do you know what actionable intel he gave up? Just like the last example…….he gave up zero quality intel of any kind…….

      • Nash

        Do you really not see the difference between a child an an adult?

        You insist on saying water boarding is used as a punishment. Ok, lets just say thats the case. Why wouldnt we put a 2 1/2 year old in prison?

        • R. Nash says:

          To be sure John, I do see the difference, but I also define waterboarding as torture.

          I am asking you why, if it’s not torture, would it be inappropriate to do so? Please be very specific about what would make it bad for a child but ok for an adult. Begin by defining child. At what age would it be ok?

          You keep saying how safe it is when accompanied by proper medical personnel. It leaves no lasting effects right?

          And I am not sure why you are hung up on the punishment aspect. I used it as an example above. As in what would the difference be if we used it as punishment for an adult or child? I mean it’s harmless when done by professionals, right?

          BTW we do imprison children as young as 5 years old in this country.

          I wouldn’t put a 2 1/2 in prison because of the same reasons I wouldn’t waterboard an adult.

          • So then even though you see the difference you make your case as though there is no difference? Thats more than a little intellectually dishonest

            • R. Nash says:

              I give up. The attempt at spin and the evasion are tanamount to a genuine case of cognitive dissonance.
              Your position, John, contradicts itself.

              “IF” waterboarding is not torture, it leaves zero effects, is harmless, mentally and physically, then pray tell why is it not done to children, off US soil, requires medical supervision and every independent organization on Earth including a tremendous number of well versed and experienced individuals privy to very inside information say just the opposite?

              I mean the only people within the Bush administration who still thought that it was a ok were Cheney and Ashcroft, even Bush changed his mind, which seems like an oxymoron.

              • thats just not Nash, just because something leaves lasting effests doesn’t mean its torture! Prison can leave lasting psychological effects but its not torture! When will you recognize this?

  22. I think the important thing to consider is not how a technique is classified, but whether it has a useful purpose and is used when appropriate. THAT determines the morality of an action. As John has indicated, there are many ways the definition of torture presented in comments here could be satisfied in ways not associated with torture. A common police station grilling could have a lasting psychological effect, especially when the threat of imprisonment or execution is real.

    As to Nash’s numbers regarding the waterboarding of Zubaydah and KSM, I offer this explanation supported by the defendants themselves and the Red Cross. Just like Nash does the Dan T thing of using the most outrageous possibility (waterboarding small children), he puts full faith in any exaggerated report that undermines the intentions of those he would oppose. I thought the numbers sounded fishy when Nash reported them here. He didn’t give it a second thought but to take it as gospel. Bad form.

    Another thing to remember is that if a particular prisoner has no fear of death, or claims to have no fear, by what means can he be persuaded to give up intel if his basic goal is to murder? You see, it works like this:

    .
    SPADE
    If you kill me, how are you going to
    get the bird? If I know you can’t
    afford to kill me, how are you going
    to scare me into giving it to you?

    GUTMAN
    Well, sir, there are other means of
    persuasion besides killing and
    threatening to kill.

    SPADE
    Sure. But they aren’t much good
    unless the threat of death is behind
    them. See what I mean? If you start
    anything I’ll make it a matter of your
    having to kill me or call it off

    The types of people that we have waterboarded are comparable to Sam without being the good guy. If information is desperately needed, people could die from holding firm to “principles” that should not apply to those intent on doing the worst.

    • R. Nash says:

      I have not fudged any numbers.

      The two examples I mentioned are 2 of the 3 individuals on record by the CIA post 2003 when they got their famous memo. That represents 66% of the total. The total number is reported by the CIA, not Fox news. How could the Red Cross even know about Camp Bucca and Cropper in 2003? Their report came out in 2007.

      Also read the 2 memos that kept the Red Cross out of all 4 black sites, obviously. This was sop until White House lawyers started getting antsy.

      And you seem to be ignoring the field generals assessment to both the House and Senate Committees in which he was explicit in saying that the torture techniques yielded zero actionable intel. Gen. Miller did the opposite of Karpinski and got relevant intel. This alone subverts your entire position.

  23. I did not say you fudged numbers, but that you misstated what they meant. The link I provided clears it up. As stated, even the prisoners themselves did not claim they were waterboarded 83 or 183 times. Those numbers represent how many times water was poured upon them during a session, with each pour lasting seconds. One session might have a dozen instances where water was poured out on a prisoners face for 10 seconds each. That isn’t a dozen instances of waterboarding. That’s ONE instance. This explains the numbers as the interrogators monitored closely the procedure and noted the number of pours and their duration. But many like to say that each pour is a separate session and that’s why some say KSM was waterboarded 183 times.

    I have tried to find some source to confirm or deny the claim of waterboarding success or failure and thus fare have not found anything that does so. I don’t know that I can find anyone who was actually participating in interrogating these people. Everything so far seems second hand and I’m not as willing as you are to buy into the first thing that comes along. One site devoted to interrogation techniques was honest enough to say that neither waterboarding nor it’s alternative was scientifically proven to be best.

    My position is that each prisoner is an individual for whom one technique might better than another. When lives are on the line, or thought to be, why limit ourselves due to irrational concern for the comfort of the suspect? There is far less evidence that harsh techniques are used willy-nilly just because they can.

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