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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Interrogation and Torture: False Equivalence

Jim has commented on Obamination: National Insecurity.

If waterboarding is not torture than why did we treat those who did it to our troops as war criminals in WWII? All your reasoning is in fact anti-law and anti-American. I suggest you re-consider your stand on this.

The "waterboarding" performed by convicted Japanese took two forms. One form was similar to that used by the CIA, but had two significant differences. The Japanese continued the treatment until their victim had a belly full of water, then they beat him or stomped his belly. Did the CIA fill Khalid Sheikh Mohammad with water? Did they beat him? Did they stomp him?

The second form involved tieing the victim to a ladder, with his throat up against a rung and his head hanging below the ladder. In that position he was dunked in a tub of water, submerged until he passed out. The victim was then revived and immersed again.

My source for that information is a post at Investor's Hub. In this Times Online article, linked in that forum post, a British officer who survived the water torture describes his experience. If you would like to know more about the torture performed by the Japanese who were convicted and hung, summon up all your intestinal fortitude and click this link.

Critical elements of the Japanese torture are missing from the CIA waterboarding, which was carried out with medical supervision and monitoring and did not involve saturation, beating or other physical injuries.

Jim is comparing interrogation to torture, ignoring the details which differentiate the two practices. It is obvious that he is ignorantly or maliciously repeating enemy propaganda. The moralistic tone of his comment leads me to conclude that he acts out of malice, not ignorance.