Description of water torture…

…or as we call it today – waterboarding. Here’s the link. And here’s an excerpt:

I remember that the blindfold was heavy and completely covered my face. As the two men held me down, one on each side, someone began pouring water onto the blindfold, and suddenly I was drowning. The water streamed into my nose and then into my mouth when I gasped for breath. I couldn’t stop it. All I could breathe was water, and it was terrifying. I think I began to lose consciousness. I felt my lungs begin to fill with burning liquid.

Pulling out my fingernails or even cutting off a finger would have been preferable. At least if someone had attacked my hands, I would have had to simply tolerate pain. But drowning is another matter.

So here’s my take on the current waterboarding/torture issue. I start from this description and others I’ve read to conclude that waterboarding is torture. I have a hard time believing any intellectually honest person can come to any other conclusion. I believe that the attorneys from the Bush Administration that have tried to justify waterboarding as legal under U.S. or international law are engaged in truly dishonest lawyering.

It also seems to me that the folx – attorneys and others – that try and argue that waterboarding is legal conflate the idea of whether it is torture with whether it might be, even though torturous, under some circumstances acceptable, defensible or appropriate. I would put myself in the camp that would say there is no situation where torturing a suspect is appropriate or will evenget you what you’re looking for. But I can at least understand that someone might have a legitimate belief that torture might be necessary sometimes, albeit very rarely.

I think it was the Attorney General who most recently gave a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He seemed to indicate that waterboarding could be considered torture, but might also not be torture depending on how exigent the need for getting information out of the suspect might be. This kind of rationale is what I mean when I say that pro-waterboarding folx conflate the issue of whether it’s torture with whether it might still be used under some circumstances.

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