Time for comparative terseness:
Whether or not waterboarding is an acceptable interrogation method seems to depend on whether or not it's "torture."
Quite a few people feel that restraining someone on a board, putting a cloth over the subject's face, and pouring water on the cloth, is torture. Last year, some anti-war demonstrators showed what waterboarding is, by doing it to each other. ("Torture? Public Waterboard Demonstration in DC" YouTube (November 06, 2007)).
I'll admit that it looks unpleasant: maybe worse than some frat house initiations.
But "torture?" Torture is something people don't, as a rule, do to their friends. It's genuinely destructive, like ripping out a prisoner's fingernails, branding him, or pulling him apart on the rack.
Anti-war demonstrators and CIA interrogators aren't the only Americans who engage in waterboarding. It's a part of training for America's military.
Since America subjects its own troops to waterboarding, there are two possibilities:
- America tortures its own soldiers
- Waterboarding is not torture
Waterboarding is unpleasant, it's "harsh," but it's not "torture."
I go on (and on) in "Waterboarding: What is it? Why Do it?" Another War-on-Terror Blog (March 8, 2008)