“WE DO NOT ‘TORTURE'” I

Amazingly, the dissidents within the CIA are leaking their interrogation techniques. We finally have detailed evidence that the U.S., under this president, practices “waterboarding.” Here’s the official CIA definition:

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

“The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

The Wall Street Journal believes that this isn’t “anything close” to “torture.” What do you think?

“WE DO NOT ‘TORTURE'” II: A reader emails some details from the past:

“I know that this comparison is automatically derided as stupid hyperbole, as we are the army of freedom, not tyranny, but just look at this:

The icy vat method proved to be the fastest way to drop the body temperature. The selections were made of young healthy Jews or Russians. They were usually stripped naked and prepared for the experiment. An insulated probe which measured the drop in the body temperature was inserted into the rectum … The victim was then placed in the vat of cold water and started to freeze. It was learned that most victims lost consciousness and died when the body temperature dropped to 25 C.

I know it’s a clear violation of Godwin’s law, but how can a mind not make the comparison when reading your discussion of the Navy Seals’ alleged use of freezing water as an interrogation technique? Money quote [from a left-wing radio station]:

‘When the Navy SEALS would interrogate people, they were using ice water to lower the body temperature of the prisoner and they would take his rectal temperature in order to make sure that he didn’t die. I didn’t see this, but that’s what many, many prisoners told me who came out of the SEAL Compound, and I also heard that from a guard who was working in our detention facility, who was present during an interrogation that the SEAL had done… [W]e used hypothermia a lot. It was very cold up in Mosul at that time, so we – it was also raining a lot, so we would keep the prisoner outside, and they would have a polyester jumpsuit on and they would be wet and cold, and freezing. But we weren’t inducing hypothermia with ice water like the SEALS were. But, you know, maybe the SEALS were doing it better than we were, because they were actually even controlling it with the thermometer, but we weren’t doing that.’

Makes me want to fucking cry.”

I can only hope that these serious allegations are untrue, but at this point, does the Pentagon really get the benefit of the doubt? And remember that, according to John Yoo in his famous White House memo, the Nazi technique – because it was designed to kill people (as a medical experiment for the war effort) – was indeed legally “torture,” illegal for the U.S., and even the vice-president draws the line at murder. The Navy Seals’ alleged technique, because it was carefully monitored not actually to kill people, and was aimed at extracting intelligence, is therefore not “torture.” So we’re fine. As the president reminds us in his always-careful locution, we’re “legal.” We do not “torture.” Repeat after me: “We do not ‘torture’.” Makes me want to fucking cry.

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