Sunday, March 9, 2008

Waterboarding: Harsh, Yes - But is it Torture?

This is the second time I've posted about waterboarding in the last several hours. The earlier post is over a thousand words long. It's a detailed, informative look at waterboarding: and a bit long for a blog post.

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:
  1. America tortures its own soldiers
  2. Waterboarding is not torture
I vote for #2.

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)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.