Thursday, February 07, 2008

So Waterboarding is not Torture Now?

For those of you who don't know what waterboarding is -- it is essentially simulating drowning. One form is strapping someone to a board, putting a cloth over the face and pouring water over their mouth until they can't breathe.
So, is this torture? If you don't think so, what don't you try it?

So let's get to the facts. The White House has admitted and defended the CIA's use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
Let's remember, that the U.S signed the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and that almost every legal authority views waterboarding as torture and a crime.

So where does that leave us as Americans? Where does this leave our government? Are we okay with the fact that the U.S. government (or more specifically the CIA) is torturing in our name? How does this effect our credibility elsewhere? How does it effect our perceptions of ourselves?


sara said...

Waterboarding is Torture. Torture is wrong. Our government shouldn't engage in Torture. Unfortunately, its not that simple. The difficulty about this issue is that it doesn't have to do with what should or shouldn't be done, it has to do with what our government actually does. Our government has been known to give suspects to foreign governments so that the individuals are tortured, we (perhaps) get the information we're looking for, and our hands are (ostensibly) clean and we can say we don't employ torture. While I do not support our government using torture, I wonder if in some ways its not a step forward, that our government is undertaking the action itself, and being honest about it so that if citizens or elected officials want to take it upon themselves to challenge the government's methods at least we can hold them directly responsible.

Ryan said...

We're still outsiders in this debate. We have no control over the military or CIA's use of torture. In essence, we're left on the sideline.
-- Bottom line is that we are still condoning torture. The executive branch controls the use of torture, and Bush is still in office, so it's unlikely to change before 2009. The war on terror is as much about "winning hearts and minds" as it is about catching terrorists. We're losing the hearts and minds of Muslims and potential terrorists. By torturing Muslims, we're driving other Muslims to hate the US and therefore join terrorist organizations. Also, the US no longer has the moral high ground. We're losing diplomatic support from other countries; they've lost respect for us. We're the #1 superpower, and we're expected to set the tone for human rights. It's troubling to know that we elected the people who are supporting torture. I do not feel comfortable with that's going on. We generally perceive ourselves as supportive of human rights, and waterboarding (or any other form of torture) is a gross violation of human rights.