It’s Not Torture When We Do It

November 7, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, Brad & Britt invited callers to phone in and give their opinions on whether or not the interrogation technique known as “waterboarding” was torture and if the United States should be engaged in it. I listened to the program for about 30 minutes before heading to work and most of the callers who phoned in took the stance that it was not torture and even if it was, it was acceptable in order to save American lives.

Over on The Conservative Alternative (a local Greensboro blog) a similar discussion has broken out on the topic and I find it both fascinating and scary what some people will justify to themselves in the name of security. To them, waterboarding is acceptable because it combats the nature of the “greatest threat” our nation has ever faced – Islamofascism. As if we never faced any greater challenges than a religious mindset.

To the folks over at TCA, and all those who phoned into the Brad & Britt show that morning, I have one simple question:

“If you consider the interrogation technique known as ‘waterboarding’ to be an acceptable form of treatment for prisoners held by the United States, do you then agree that American service men and women, held by our enemies in a time of war, can be subjected to waterboarding themselves as a means to gain information?”

I tried to get several of the conservative commentators over at TCA to give their answer, but no one had the balls to actually come out and say yes or no. The reason why this is so difficult for them is simple. If you believe that waterboarding is okay when we do it, then it has to be okay when they do it to us, and that is something no one would ever agree to. No one in their right minds would try and justify applying “extreme interrogation techniques” to American service men and women held in foreign lands, nor should they. Torture is cruel, inhumane and ultimately self defeating as a means to gather information. Even those in our own government have admitted that waterboarding is torture, and yet somehow, it is considered acceptable behavior for the greatest nation on Earth.

I don’t know about you, but from where I’m standing we’ve lost the moral high-ground on issues like torture. The United States I grew up in didn’t lock people up without representation, it didn’t didn’t try to silence dissent and it sure as hell never tortured people. We’ve lost a great deal in the last six years, not the least of which is a true sense of what we’re fighting for. I have no desire for this nation to become like those who would seek to destroy us. But sadly in many ways, it appears we already have.

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6 Responses to “It’s Not Torture When We Do It”


  1. Perhaps this goes to prove how incredibly influenced people are by the media today. A proverbial wall of ‘terrorism’ coverage has conquered most news bulletins, mostly instilling fear, which in turn convinces most people it’s in order that basic rights are relinquished.

    What’s so scary about your post is that it shows how little thought people are giving it; what if your brother / mother / niece-in-law gets tipped off as a ‘terror suspect’ and you see them being shipped away to a facility without any form of fair trial? Even in Europe, where I live, we’ve seen a real change in the political landscape, mostly inspired by the legislative changes in America. Germany has even accepted a law outlawing several software products as being ‘hacker tools’ that can be used for potential ‘e-terrorism’. Things are becoming a bit crazy.

  2. Roch101 Says:

    “If you believe that waterboarding is okay when we do it, then it has to be okay when they do it to us…”

    You would think. But here is the simple truth you must grasp, people who support waterboarding for people in our custody have adopted something for which they’ve long criticized “liberals:” situational ethics. It’s okay for us, not okay for them. A double standard. It’s really that simple. (And it is, of course, the reason why you will not get a straight answer to your question.)

  3. David Says:

    Thanks for posting Ged! I’m glad you’ve got my back on politics since I try to stay out of it on my blog. Anyway, when we choose to toss out the Geneva Conventions or split hairs with it, then we need to be ready to accept the results of our actions. We need to ask ourselves if torture or almost torture is worth the *potential* for saving American lives. I, for one, don’t know. I also think we need to shift our thinking from the “us vs. them” mentality and realize that “we” and “they” are all “us.”

    Okay, now a link for you that you may have already seen over at Max Blumenthal’s site:

    http://maxblumenthal.com/archives/171#comments

    I thought of it when you said the TCA commentators wouldn’t say yay or nay on the torture issue.

  4. Christopher Says:

    Ged, thank you for continuing to ask the questions that more people should be asking.

    It continues to disappoint me that the mainstream media seem to be reluctant to discuss these sorts of issues, but I can only hope that blog postings such as this one prompt more people to think about what the US Government is willing to sanction.

    It’s hard to believe that, when a U.S. citizen was waterboarded by a Japanese officer, he was later sentenced to 15 years hard labor as it was considered a war crime.

    I can’t believe anyone can justify it now.

  5. Claude Says:

    I bet you anything that our brave soldiers would rather be water-boarded than beheaded if captured by the seventh century dwellers they’re tasked with fighting.

    What’s more ironic, this week Ted Kennedy was describing in detail how someone feels when they think they’re drowning. I wonder if he felt the same about poor Mary Jo Kopechne.

  6. Ged Says:

    Claude, as I stated over at TCA, beheading isn’t torture, it’s a form of execution. In addition, captives never get to “choose” what’s done to them, that’s why they are the detainees and not the detainers.

    Yes, waterboarding is less horrible than beheading, but that is not the argument here. I suggest you go back and read the post again because you’ve obviously missed the point.


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