Waterboarding, Torture, Rendition and other Stupid Human Tricks

So Attorney General nominee Mukasey refuses to classify waterboarding as torture, feigning ignorance of the technique. To quote Amy & Seth on SNL’s weekend update, “oh really?!”

Here are the details. Waterboarding does not “simulate” this experience, it re-creates this experience. Plain and simple, waterboarding is torture and any Attorney General nominee who can’t or won’t admit so because of the “can of worms”/”pandora’s box” excuse needs to apply for a different job.

The real issue, of course, is that a few key Democrats won’t do their jobs and stop the nominee from being confirmed. If John McCain can say it’s torture, why can’t they?

And to fill out the rest of this post, I give you a selection of BoingBoing posts that cover the ineptitude and idiocy our FBI in the war on terror. If this is how we operate – uninformed, reactive and sloppy – we’re in serious trouble.

That is all. Have a torture-free day!

14 thoughts on “Waterboarding, Torture, Rendition and other Stupid Human Tricks

  1. Whether waterboarding is torture or is not, I find it amusing both parties got all hot and bothered about something that has only been used 3 times and was last done a couple years ago. Aren’t there more important things for them to discuss?

  2. How many times have nuclear weapons ever been used, but there development, proliferation and use are still continually debated and a driver of foreign policy.

    Torture is just as horrifying and powerful and should be kept at the forefront of our discussion about warfare. It’s something we don’t or shouldn’t do. The fact that we abstained from torture separates us from the terrorists, or at least it should.

  3. Waterboarding has never led to someone’s death. The two nuclear blasts killed countless people from the blast and the radiation effects. The two are hardly comparable.

    I don’t disagree that we should not torture. I also don’t believe that us not torturing would have any impact on our current enemy. They beheaded innocent civilians before waterboarding was even a topic.

  4. So anything short of summarily executing folks is OK? Extreme sleep deprivation? Blood-letting? Hell, why not just kill folks on an operating table and then revive them?

    You can see how quickly things would devolve into some sick cavalcade of Modest Proposals, one more immoral and inhuman than the next.

    I don’t want to invoke another horrible cliche, but torture – and waterboarding is torture – is that slippery slope. What happens next?

    Sure our enemies are barbaric. Does that excuse us from our own actions in striking back at them? Don’t we risk becoming them (or at the least, more like them) if we embrace torture?

    We’re better than that; always have been, always will be. And whomever did this in the past, would excuse it in the present or would suggest it in the future needs to be dealt with as a criminal or a traitor to democratic principles.

    All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.

  5. Kyle says:

    We are not torturing common detainees (and yes I will admit that it is torture), only the high-level terrorist leaders who definitely have information which could save many lives or help to end this war.

    Someone please tell me how waterboarding and sleep deprivation creates new terrorists?? We’ve destroyed two Muslim countries, support a Jewish state that they absolutely hate and you think it matters in the tiniest little bit that we’ve forced water down the throats of 3 people?? Anyone who wanted to become a terrorist has already become a terrorist.. And this summer we killed them in droves!!

    Do you people have any idea of what the Muslims do to each other when they capture enemies?? Now that is TORTURE..

    Slippery slope???

    I don’t care about that, I care about the welfare of my family.. Also, we are not going to be popping the eyeballs out of children just because we use harsh interrogation techniques during this war. This is a different kind of war and it is a war that we absolutely must win.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!! We are winning this war now and we need everyone to get together and stop these pathetic political games..

    I can’t stand another non-binding resolution..

  6. Sorry Seth, I respect your opinion but I just don’t see waterboarding, sleep deprivation, or forcing someone to stand hours on end as torture. Also, it’s not like we do this for fun. Whenever these actions are practiced, they are done so to extract information.

    You’re right when you say that just because our enemy is barbaric, that does not give us the excuse to act in the same way. I’m not advocating we act that way.

    My point is, people are going to have different opinions on what is and what is not torture. But for us to base the appointment of Attorney General on his definition of a practice that has been used so infrequently and has no lasting effect just seems silly.

  7. Listen, Dave, if Colin Powell and John McCain think waterboarding is torture, I’m inclined to agree with a career soldier and a man who actually experienced torture.

    And what about rendition? Outsourcing of torture to other, worse regime is somehow a solution to our terrorism problem? I’m not buying it.

  8. I think it is about a matter of adhering to principle; if we say that we don’t torture, we SHOULDN’T. It’s torture, and has been outlined as such, and as such, we shouldn’t condone it (whether we use it or not is irrelevant).

    And as for dave’s take… get waterboarded, and get back to us.

  9. Seth, I agree that Colin Powell and John McCain’s perspective carries a ton more weight than mine. My point the whole time was that waterboarding is something that is rarely done… there are bigger fish to fry right now. Just as most things political, one party makes a huge deal out of something completely irrelevant and the other side makes a bigger point by being stubborn and standing their ground. I just want us to deal with the more important issues at hand.

    duane, bring it.

  10. The biggest priority for a society and a democracy beset by the tyranny and evil of terrorism is to say “we will not give up our way of life/freedoms/beliefs in a Machiavellian attempt to win at all costs”.

    http://chriswerler.wordpress.com/2007/10/24/the-atlantics-150-year-anniversary-issue-david-foster-wallace-asks-how-much-our-security-should-cost/

    What’s more important than the vibrancy and cornerstone of our democracy? Some fiscal policy or the WGA strike? Hell, no. This is America and we’re about big ideas and this is one of them.

  11. You’re telling me the most important thing our government could do right now is deciding whether waterboarding is torture or not? The handling of the war, the dealing with the declining dollar, handling of illegal immigration… all of that is second place as to what category waterboarding fits into?

    I don’t disagree that we should be a moral example by which others could follow, but damn… pick your battles right now. Three times, ever. Not high on my priority list.

  12. I guess i have to agree a little bit, Dave. I suppose my main frustration is that it’s such a simple thing to condemn the act, come totally clean about it’s past use and fresh start with a meaningful prosecution of tortue, i just don’t see why that isn’t happening.

    Sure, it’s symbolic, but America is more than GDP or military might, it’s a nation founded on ideas and principles.

    And why won’t the Bush administration disclose all the details about waterboarding to Patrick Leahy? Personal culpability? Arrogance? Your prioritization argument?

    Vibrant democracies are made better by the open discourse of these kind of issues, even if they are merely philosophical. What’s more important than a philosophical discussion when we’re at war over ideology?

  13. dave, I wouldn’t waterboard you, as I don’t believe people should be subjected to torture… you are more than able to seek it elsewhere.

    And Seth, your last comment; I couldn’t agree more. Very well said, my friend.

  14. Seth, I agree as well. I’m not sure why we’re not getting full disclosure and based off prior actions of the administration over the past 7 years, I can see why people would jump to conspiracy theories. There’s a lot that goes on up there, some we need to know about, some we don’t. Who knows which this is? All I know is this administration is out in a year and we get to start all over again.

    duane, wimp. ;-)

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