I never said water-boarding isn't torture. And yes, it is set apart from other techniques.
Then by all means, please go on to explain how this form of torture is special, but the rest are not and remain illegal within the US.
For the record, "the rest" include, but are not limited to the following (which are found in an army field manual):
Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner;
Hooding, that is, placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes;
Applying beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain;
Using military working dogs;
Inducing hypothermia or heat injury;
Conducting mock executions;
Depriving the detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care.
You're saying that it's okay to simulate drowning, but it's not okay to simulate execution. It's okay to simulate drowning, but it's not okay to put a hood over someone's head. It's okay to simulate drowning, but forcing them to be naked - whoa
, slow down, colonel!
I understand that you have not explicitly stated these things (and they are partially worded in jest - the last one, anyway
), but that is the implication being made when you argue that waterboarding is somehow special and unique and fit to be used as compared to the things that are not
okay and fit to be used.
I think it is forever naive to believe that because we might say we won't use this method or that method, that other countries will presumably follow suit? You think China or Russia would? Come on.
I believe the point is right here. Let's not act like Russia or China.
Extremist Pakistanis or Afghanis or Iranians or what-have-you would strap a bomb to a child and send them out as human weapons, but we're hardly jumping on board to follow suit even though by all means, it would surprise the living hell out of the terrorists who wouldn't exactly see it coming from the good ol' US of A. What is naive here is to think that racing other countries to the bottom is going to end up well for us - from there it's more or less a contest to see how fast we can get our allies to drop us like a bad habit. We're already seen as bullies with the most powerful armed forces on the planet and it still hasn't deterred anyone - in fact, that's half the reason a lot of the Middle East hates us, is because we throw our muscle around and get up in other people's business when we don't like what's going on.
The train's already rolled out of the station of trying to get down to their level, and that train went straight to a place called Guantanamo. Last I checked, nobody seemed especially discouraged from messing with 'Muricuh after a lengthy stay in that hole.
Water boarding isn't a deterrent. It's one method among many that can, and should be used appropriately.
It also gets crappy information - when it does. We had to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in one month. I'll say it again - 183 times in one month.
This guy got waterboarded on average more times in a day than he got meals. This is incredibly inefficient, not to mention combined with the conditions the guy was already living in, probably causing him quite a bit of mental duress. What happens when you're under mental duress? You can't think straight. Human memory is incredibly fallible.
It doesn't matter if you're a witness in court or if you're on a table getting water poured down your throat, your brain is almost working against you at times, filling in gaps in your memories with simulation rather than fact. I can't imagine getting any kind of clear, thoughtful, and intelligent account from a man who is getting waterboarded six times a day. Even putting aside the idea that it's especially inhumane, I'm curious to know how you can defend that as a legitimate means of gathering information from a purely neurological standpoint.
It's fine if there is no common ground to be had, but it's at least important to know what you're dismissing in spite of it all.