Yes, It's Torture
More on waterboarding and torture. As discussed in my last post I've been taken to task by "Phil" and "Greg" over my views on waterboarding and other forms of torture. In short I say waterboarding is torture and torture is inhuman, immoral and unAmerican.
There are several questions one may chose to consider when pursuing this debate. I will consider these over several coming posts.
1. Is waterboarding torture?
The federal criminal code defines torture as "the intentional infliction of severe mental pain or suffering." Waterboarding is an interrogation tactic in which a person is exposed to the beginning stages of drowning. It causes severe physical suffering in the form of reflexive choking, gagging, and the feeling of suffocation. It can cause damage to the lungs, brain damage, injuries from struggling against restraints, and death. The experience and sensations are so intense and terrifying that the person will do or say anything to put a stop to it. This is the testimony of many experts, including US servicemen and intelligence agents who have undergone the technique as part of their training.
More than 100 law professors declared waterboarding to be torture and a felony punishable under US law. John McCain says it is torture. The US Department of State recognizes it as torture. In 1901 a US Army major was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for water boarding a Filipino insurgent during the Spanish-American War. In 1947 the United States sentenced a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, to 15 years hard labor for waterboarding a US civilian. In 1968 the US Army launched an investigation, which resulted in court-martial and discharge, into the "fairly common" practice of waterboarding NVA soldiers in Vietnam. In 2006 the DoD even prohibited the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel in an Army Field Manual. The US is signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture which states, "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever ... may be invoked as a justification of torture."
It is ovious that waterboarding meets the definition of torture and that torture violates not only the character, but the laws of the United States. It takes a great deal of hypocrisy and disingenuousness to pretend that waterboarding is anything other than inhuman, barbaric torture.