Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bush vetoes bill banning waterboarding

Last Saturday, President Bush said he would veto a bill banning waterboarding, explaining "The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror..." The bill simply proposed to limit the CIA's ability to use unconventional methods of interrogation, restricting them to the same methods allowed in branches of the armed services. After the bill was passed by both the House and Senate, I have trouble understanding the rationale. Why does the CIA need exclusive interrogation privileges? The article is pretty self explanatory so I will let you read. Just curious about everyone's thoughts on the issue.

5 comments:

ashley said...

In addition to the obvious moral implications involved in using harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, there are practical issues to consider as well. As the article mentions, when subjected to torture, most people will say anything to make it stop, regardless of whether or not the information is accurate or truthful. They will say whatever they think their interrogators want to hear. We have discussed in class how methods of torture are merely a tactic to intimidate individuals who are being questioned. If the US is supposed to be a "civilized" nation, why do we need to reserve the right to use scare tactics? And how can we expect other countries to treat US citizens who are detained abroad with any kind of respect if we blatantly announce that we are not going to afford others the same courtesy?

aditin said...

In the 1987 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, torture is defined as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third party information or a confession…” Aware of the strong temptation for countries to excuse themselves from this prohibition under extreme circumstances, the same declaration (ratified by the United States) went on to clarify, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
According to the above stated, the US has agreed and ratified the treaty to ban the allowance of such methods. So the main question according to this article is whether Bush considers water boarding conducted by the CIA as torture.
From an article in Fox News - 'The president has insisted his disagreement with the bill is not “over any particular interrogation technique, for instance, it is not over waterboarding” (note that the president now seems to agree with most everyone else that waterboarding is indeed torture).
So if the US has ratified the Convention against Torture and water boarding is indeed classified as torture as accepted to be so, the CIA has no right to use such interrogation methods on individuals it decides need it.
And when it comes to the basic efficiency of torture in producing results, I think we all agree with Ashley on how torture brings about the results the torturer wants it to. By this I mean that the torturer (the CIA) can pretty much get the person undergoing torture to say what they want to hear as a victim of torture would say anything the CIA wants to hear to have it stopped. Hence, though the fear of torture may be a good reason for people to not commit atrocious crimes, people caught and tortured by the CIA, we hope, are truly criminals and have already committed the crimes they are being tortured for. Hence, when looked at from the point of effectiveness only, water boarding is hardly conducive to providing vital information.

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