Progressive Minds

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2006/10/5

Why Waterboarding (And Other Forms of Torture) Don't Work

@ 09:33 PM (99 months, 27 days ago)

The Washington Post has a very interesting article on the history of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique in which the person being subjected to it, feels as though they are drowning.

It notes that in 1947, the United States declared that waterboarding was a war crime.  The U.S. government "charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk." 

Mr. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

For me, the most interesting part of the WaPo article, and the part that our conservative friends need to take heed of, is the part that discusses Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. 

Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding. And according to the WaPo, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says that it was the waterboarding that finally got Mohammed to talk and provide information.

BUT (and you knew there was a but coming here): not all of the information that Mohammed provided was reliable.

Why not?  Because as Sen. John McCain has stated, torture (which waterboarding is) is NOT an effective intelligence gathering tool. Most likely, the person being subjected to it is just going to say what they think their tormentor wants to hear.

Waterboarding Historically Controversial

In 1947, the U.S. Called It a War Crime; in 1968, It Reportedly Caused an Investigation