Monday, April 27, 2009

Clarification on Torture

Just to keep things on track, should anyone wish to add to this discussion, or perhaps to refine and clarify my position.

1) I do not condone abusing fellow human beings for the sake of inflicting harm. If we are at war, we inflict harm in battle and do so with the notion that we are defending some principle or ideal, mostly dealing with the lives of our people or allies. This makes the harm we do justified as well as necessary. Thus, to protect lives, we inflict harm on those who threaten those lives. It is a form of self-defense.

2) I do not condone abusing captives taken in battle for the sake of causing them further harm. However, since I consider the enemy equivalent to any other criminal or scumbag, I don't believe we are required to make their incarceration perfectly comfortable. They've done wrong or we wouldn't be fighting them. Therefor they deserve food, shelter and medical care, but not life on their terms.

3) Though I cannot control how other people define "torture", I do not have to accept every definition for the sake of arguing this issue. Thus far, it appears the harshest form of enhanced interrogation technique is what is known as waterboarding. Nonetheless, I will from this point call anything that causes the least bit of discomfort "torture" so as to get past this dubious point of contention. I'm tired of arguing with people who I don't believe are sincere in their stated concerns for the "victims of torture" or how it makes us look to the world to use these techniques or if they feel ashamed that their government ever uses these techniques. So, its all torture. Their incarceration, even if justified by their having shot to death civilians, then members of our military who sought to stop them, along with their constant insistence that they hope to kill us all, even their incarceration is torture. There. Satisfied?

4) I believe there are times when we, as the good guys of a Christian nation (yeah, Barry, we're still mostly a Christian nation, you fraud) are totally justified in the use of some forms of torture in order to save the lives of our people, our troops or our allies.

5) I believe that despite the liklihood of exceptions (because there always are), our government does not employ enhanced interrogation techniques without just cause or without the firm belief of a professional experienced in the field that actionable intel can be aquired from a given suspect by doing so, and that nothing will be gained unless those techniques are employed.

6) I believe that in these cases we are not only justified, but that our position morally is not affected in the least, because I believe that we do not enter into these situations by choice, but do so out of necessity.

7) I believe that the situation, together with the uncooperative nature of a given suspect forces our hand and thus any guilt for using enhanced techniques is totally on the suspect.

8) I believe that for the party of nuance to not see how one could engage in violent behavior, inflict pain and distress upon another human being and still retain the moral high-ground exposes them as fraudulent in their position and merely looking to cast the opposing party in the worst possible light.

9) I believe any life lost due to the concern for the comfort of a terrorist believed by the experts to have actionable intel is on the shoulders of those who acted to strip our government of their use. They are complicit in such deaths.

10) I believe that the biggest mistake was when the first lefty decided to try to use "torture" as a means to discredit George W. Bush and his administration. To put our country in a position where it has to state publicly its position on the use of enhanced techniques has put us in greater harm, as it has eliminated another reason for bad guys to fear us. It doesn't matter whether we use the techniques or not. It doesn't matter if we would ever use techniques that would then make us the most savage nation in the history of mankind. What matters is how the bad guys view us. What matters is what they think we're capable of doing. Thanks to the left, we are once again viewed as paper tigers, unwilling to do what is necessary to defend ourselves.

Before the left saw this as a way to get Bush, our enemies could only hope that we were too nice to be brutal. But they couldn't know for sure. Before the left once again put their lust for power before the good of the nation, the world, if it was to insist on an honest assessment of who we are, would have had to weigh our known good works against our known failures and then decide if we were likely to do the worst in interrogations of terrorists. Those who mean no harm would have no reason to believe we'd just up and attack them. Those who mean no good would never be sure that we wouldn't stop at any line of ethics in defending against their evil. Now they believe there is a line we won't cross and that will again embolden them as our flight from Mogadishu has done.

But here's the thing. Some day, someone from our side will be an evildoer himself and engage in the worst types of torture for all the wrong reasons. No law will prevent it. Or some day, someone from our side will be in a position that more closely resembles the "ticking bomb" scenario the left likes to mock as never likely, and that person will have his hands tied and civilians will die who could have been saved.

Or some day, someone from our side will be in a position that more closely resembles the "ticking bomb" scenario the left likes to mock as never likely, and he will, on behalf of those in danger, see his duty and ignore the law, use whatever technique gets the intel necessary, save lives and have his own freedom taken from him. Like David taking food for the priests to feed his starving troops, I believe God, if not the psuedo-sanctimonious left, will not judge that person harshly, knowing that what he did was righteous.

UPDATE to clarify my clarification:

11) I do not believe in the use of enhanced methods for the purpose of "fishing" or "treasure hunting". I'm confident that more often than not, our pros can tell when a suspect is a pawn and when one is a real source of intel. Only the latter would qualify for the use of enhanced techniques.

12) I'm constantly told by some that enhanced methods don't work, yet never told what the alternatives are or what intel has been had by their use. Other than simply asking politely what a suspect can tell us that would help us defeat his own people, only bribery comes to mind as possibly having any positive results. While I'm sure Dan, ER, Jim and Marty wouldn't mind having their taxes raised in order to provide funds for this purpose, can we expect to succeed with a people who don't believe it's sinful to lie to an infidel? Can we expect it to work with those for whom their faith is so strong that they would remain steadfast no matter what? What are examples of "nice" methods and how and with whom have they worked?


Dan Trabue said...

I'm constantly told by some that enhanced methods don't work, yet never told what the alternatives are or what intel has been had by their use.Ummm, legal ones? Threat of prosecution, for instance.

We don't torture. We're the US, we don't swing that way.

Tell me, Marshall, what of those nazis and japanese soldiers who were prosecuted in WWII for waterboarding - are you suggesting we overturn those convictions?

Dan Trabue said...

Thus far, it appears the harshest form of enhanced interrogation technique is what is known as waterboarding.

As noted above, we have long considered waterboarding a form of torture. My friend, Michael has pointed out...

* Waterboarding (as it is now called) is one of the oldest known forms of torture. In the 1500s it was used in the Spanish Inquisition.
* In 1898, an American soldier (Captain Edwin F. Glenn) used the technique (then called the “water cure”) on a prisoner captured in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. When reported, Americans were shocked and protests led to Elihu Root, U.S. Secretary of War (now called Secretary of Defense) ordered Glenn court-martialed in 1902 and imprisoned. A general under whose command this and other tortures occurred was court-martialed and removed from the army.
* During WWII, both the Gestapo and some Japanese soldiers used waterboarding as a form of torture. The Japanese were tried after the war and at least one hung by U.S. forces for waterboarding U.S. Airman Chase J. Nielsen.
* Waterboarding was declared illegal by U.S. generals during the Vietnam War. When a journalist photgraphed an American soldier helping two South Vietnamese soldiers waterboard a captured North Vietnames soldier, and published in the Washington Post in 1968, it caused outrage across the United States. The soldier was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the U.S. army.
* In 1983, Texas sheriff James Parker was sentenced to ten years in prison and his deputies to four years apiece for waterboarding prisoners. When his case came up for clemency years later, then Gov. George W. Bush refused to pardon Sheriff Parker, specifically stating that no one is above the law.
* In 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, or Punishment of 1984. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1994. Since the U.S. Constitution classifies all treaties that the U.S. signs and ratifies as sharing the Constitution’s status as “highest law of the land,” then the U.S. must follow the Convention Against Torture’s provisions, including those which demand prosecution of those who authorize and those who implement torture. It also forbids the U.S. to ship people to other countries that practice torture (”rendition”) and the Bush administration was guilty of that, also.

Marshall Art said...

"Legal ones"????!!!!! You call that an answer??!! What are examples of legal techniques that have procured actionable intel from the lips of an uncooperative terrorist? THAT'S the question. "Legal ones" is not an answer.

"We don't torture."Yeah, I've heard that before. What I haven't heard is why certain non-lethal techniques that cause no lasting damage (if any at all) are less acceptable to boobs like yourself than the loss of life that might occur if the intel can't be obtained by "nice" methods.

"Tell me, Marshall, what of those nazis and japanese soldiers who were prosecuted in WWII for waterboarding..."Tell me Danny, why you insist on comparing your fellow Americans to scumbags? Review my list of clarifications and respond within that context, instead of bringing up situations in which you'll find no disagreement, such as the useless list from your not-so-bright friend Michael (as if he's some worthy source of intelligent thought), of which not one case describes the reason for the use of the technique, or what kind of info was had as a result.

"So, Daniel Trabue, why do you think we should let you into the Kingdom of Heaven?"

"Well, I stopped some people from torturing a guy."

"Yes, I see that here in your file. Wasn't that guy taken into custody because it was believed he knew the details of a plot to denonate a bomb?"

"That's what they said."

"And you stopped them from, what is it? oh yeah, 'waterboarding' the guy?"

"Yes. That's right."

"But waterboarding doesn't kill or leave lasting damage to the subject. Why didn't you stand down?"

"Because waterboarding is torture. We don't torture. We're the US, we don't swing that way."

"But the bomb went off and 600 people died, all civilians, including some children."

"Yeah, but we didn't torture anyone."

"And you're cool with that."

"Way cool."

"Wait here..."

Dan Trabue said...
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Dan Trabue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Trabue said...

You call that an answer??!! What are examples of legal techniques that have procured actionable intel from the lips of an uncooperative terrorist? THAT'S the question. "Legal ones" is not an answer.

And this is where you and I differ, it would appear. It doesn't matter WHAT results one might get, if the action is wrong and illegal, it is wrong and illegal.

It doesn't matter if by pulling a child's tongue out we could get a terrorist parent to admit to where a bomb was planted (before we rip the child's ear off), it would remain wrong and illegal to pull that child's tongue out. The legal and moral response is not dictated by the ends. The ends most certainly do not justify the means.

You are engaging in moral relativism, Marshall.

1. Waterboarding has always been condemned as torture (see my above examples).

2. As such, it is already against US law and good patriotic US citizens just do not endorse torture or breaking such essential US law. Doing so would be wrong.

3. That we may (MAY) get valid intel out of a person by torturing them is not a justification to break US law and engage in torture.

4. If you want to change US law so that waterboarding is NOT torture, you may try to do so. I don't think that you will have much luck with that, but you can try to do so.

5. In the meantime, waterboarding IS torture (by our existing laws) and as such, we are obliged to prosecute.

That's really the end of the story.

Now, once we enter the sentencing stage of the prosecution (IF convictions are won), then you can introduce your outstanding evidence of why it was done and make a plea for leniency, given the circumstances.

BUT, it is already crime and ought to be prosecuted.

Marshall Art said...

And when convenient, you put law above morality, and to sell your point, you offer the worst type of example. How very dishonest of you, particularly when I've been trying to keep this discussion focussed on the particular methods highlighted in the memos recently released. I don't recall ripping out the tongues of children in front of their parents to be among them. Such is among the tactics of the type of people we now fight, so it shouldn't be difficult for even such as you to imagine that removing our much "nicer" forms of "torture" will do little to improve our influence upon them.

Your deleted comment referred to an action being wrong, thus never being right. Well that's silly beyond reason. We are not supposed to take even our own lives under God's law, but no greater love hath man than he lay down his life for another. That means a willingness to allow yourself to be killed, yet it is not parallel to suicide, though in each case one willingly allows one's own life to be taken. So to take one's own life is not always wrong given the intent behind doing so.

We are not to take the life of another, but to do so to prevent his taking the life of a third person, or one's own, is also not sinful. Thus, it's obviously not always wrong to take the life of another.

In neither of the above cases are the actions desired, but required by circumstance. Are you saying that sin has been committed in the first scenario, even when God says one form of giving one's life is an act of love? And in the second, that the third person should be allowed to die so that you can say you've never killed anyone? Do you consider these cases of "moral relativism"?

I'll concede that it is indeed moral relativism, but of a level that's far more noble that anything libs normally support, such as saying Israel is equally guilty of fomenting war with Arabs as Arabs are of fomenting war with Israel.

What I'm talking about is being in a position where a decision must be made that determines whether people live or die at the hands of a captive enemy should he withhold information that would keep those people safe. No. For you it is far better to let people die than to make a scumbag uncomfortable.

Here's what gets me: some people believe that to execute a criminal means the dude will never have a chance to repent and come to God before he dies. Though I feel it's a lame concern, it does hold some merit.

Yet, here we have a confirmed scumbag, who we may have solid reason to believe can provide intel that would help us prevent a tragedy, and rather than force the info out of him, you'd prefer to let people die, some of whom will lose the chance to repent and turn to God before they die. All for the comfort of someone Vegas would rate a sure thing for eternal damnation. That makes perfect sense.

And to argue your point, you bring up crap about ripping out the tongues of children. You demand answers about cases without providing me details about what was done and why.

So yeah, perhaps waterboarding is on the books as illegal. Like gun laws, it won't stop criminals from getting and using guns. But unlike gun laws, it also won't stop people with common sense and a true love for their fellow man from using the technique to save lives if a situation dictates its use. That person might be breaking a law, but he would not be wrong for having employed the technique, but heroic for saving lives without taking one to do so. Waterboarding might be illegal, but that doesn't make it immoral to use in every situation. Needlessly letting people die, however, is always wrong.

Dan Trabue said...

So yeah, perhaps waterboarding is on the books as illegal.

Yes, thank you, you are correct. Waterboarding is illegal. Period.

It is illegal because the majority of your fellow citizens recognize it as grossly immoral torture.

And so the point remains: IF you want to change the current law so that waterboarding is no longer illegal, you will have to convince your fellow citizens that it is NOT immoral torture. I don't believe you can do so, but you can try.

In the meantime, we WILL prosecute these illegal and immoral actions because they are contrary to our American and Christian values.

Good luck with your crusade to change our minds. I think this is a case where Right will win out and you will not.

Marshall Art said...

But once again, the real crime here is the release of the memos and the public declaration that we will not engage in even the most benign forms of harsh interrogation. The stupidity of this is world class and deserves a gold medal for its total lack of consideration for consequence. There's a major difference between not being barbaric and savage, and letting our enemies know that we will never be barbaric and savage. Only idiots see value in being forced to be sweethearts no matter what. Good friends will know we're sweethearts though we won't take crap. Jerks need to know first that we won't take crap but will be sweethearts. Thanks to people in our government with the mentality like yours, our enemies will now only see us as a target. Where they were merely eager, now they salivate.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, there's an area where we disagree and you are in the minority and you have a job in front of you if you wish things to change.

For most of us, we reject waterboarding because it is, to us, clearly torture and we do not engage in torture. In fact, we think to even suggest we MIGHT engage in torture is to weaken us. And that is exactly why it is NOT a crime (to most of us) to release these memos.

According to most of your fellow citizens, we think that torture is a sign of weakness and fear and we are not a weak or fearful people.

Again, good luck convincing us that we need to embrace fear and weakness. I don't think you'll succeed.

Marty said...

Marshall: "I'm constantly told by some that enhanced methods don't work, yet never told what the alternatives are or what intel has been had by their use."

Marine Major Sherwood F. Moran was the most successful interrogator of Japanese prisoners of war during WWII.

From a 2005 article by Stephen Budiansky Truth Extraction:

"The successful interrogators all had one thing in common in the way they approached their subjects. They were nice to them...... "Moran spoke fluent Japanese, but more important, he was thoroughly familiar with Japanese culture, having spent forty years in Japan as a missionary. He used this knowledge for one of his standard gambits: making a prisoner homesick. "This line has infinite possibilities," he explained. "If you know anything about Japanese history, art, politics, athletics, famous places, department stores, eating places, etc. etc. a conversation may be relatively interminable." Moran emphasized that a detailed knowledge of technical military terms and the like was less important than a command of idiomatic phrases and cultural references that allow the interviewer to achieve "the first and most important victory"—getting "into the mind and into the heart" of the prisoner and achieving an "intellectual and spiritual" rapport with him."

Vinny said...

They've done wrong or we wouldn't be fighting them.By that logic, if I call you a fool, you must be one because I wouldn't call you one if you weren't.

Marty said...

Doesn't look I googed on the link. Here it is again:

Truth Extraction

Mark said...

Dan, see if you can answer one question directly:

If you knew someone was planning to murder hundreds of innocent women and children, what would you do to find out the details of the plot?

Marshall Art said...


Thanks for checkin' in. Not one of your better comments. It positions yourself amongst those like Dan who have such contempt for your fellow Americans that you believe we'll war for no good reason. Well done.

Marshall Art said...


Neither legality nor numbers of people who support a law make in moral. If I was the last one in the country to believe that it is moral to beat the crap out of a scumbag because I know he has the info necessary to save lives, that would make me the only one in the country who is thinking clearly and doing the righteous thing. Saving lives is more important, more noble, more moral than preventing the pain and discomfort inflicted upon the guy who's knowledge can preserve those lives.

Allowing evil people to believe we are capable of worse than they can imagine is far more valuable to the safety of our nation and allies than to admit to the world, and hence our enemies, that we can't stomach the thought of even yanking their beards until they talk.

You, and people who think like you, are naive. We have the word of repentant terrorist Walid Shoebat and others like him that taking Islamic terrorists so lightly is foolhardy to the max. It doesn't matter what our allies think. If they don't know our hearts by now, when will they? But what the terrorists believe about us is indeed important, because they see this move as total weakness.

In addition, you are totally dishonest in your arguments. The techniques to which I refer are not what most people think of when the word "torture" is used. Yet, you insist on using extreme examples like harming children as if to equate every harsh technique to that. You argue as if I mean to say that our people should go right to the most violent techniques in all interrogation situations, when clearly I'm referring to drastic moves for drastic situations.

Worse, you act as if it is OK to lose a war as long as we didn't use harsh interrogation techniques, because losing a war is possible if we don't do what a situation dictates we do. That might be fine for you, but you have no right to put lives at risk for your wacky and false piety.

What a letter of the law Pharisee that makes you. You form this moral absolute to absolve you from not making an obvious "lesser of two evils" decision. Beat a terrorist or save lives. Sure, I concede that an well intentioned interrogator might be mistaken in his belief that a suspect holds such intel. That stuff happens in war, even wars that might be fought according to your suicidal philosophies.

But like a good American who maintains the innocence of another until that one is proved guilty, I prefer to assume that our people act in good faith when they believe they have no choice but to get nasty on a terrorist. Idiots side with you, even to the point of legislation. This is not news as idiots put Obama in office. But as I said, neither legality nor majority opinion equals moral.

Dan Trabue said...

But as I said, neither legality nor majority opinion equals moral.

I agree. In this case, you are both in the minority and morally wrong. If you want to convince the majority that torture - even "lesser" torture like waterboarding - is a moral good and we ought to change our laws, you can try to do so.

Berating those who disagree with you when they are merely striving to do the most right thing is not going to win any converts to your cause, though. Winning arguments by abuse doesn't really work.

Sometimes, it is good to be in the minority, if the majority is wrong. BUT, sometimes, when you find yourselves in the minority, it just means that you are wrong and it is obvious to most people, just not to you.

So, go ahead and try to change minds if you think that's the right thing to do.

In the meantime, WE will continue to do what is the Right thing and follow our laws and prosecute any who contribute to torturing others because in this case, these laws are right and you are wrong.

Mark said...

Art, it's your blog, so you can do what you want, but I believe you should delete any comments from commenters who refuse to answer simple questions.

Vinny said...

It positions yourself amongst those like Dan who have such contempt for your fellow Americans that you believe we'll war for no good reason. Well done.I believe that in every war, at least one side is fighting for bad reasons and not infrequently both sides are fighting for bad reasons. I think the odds are pretty low that America has always been in the right in every war it ever fought.

Mark said...

Then you are an un-American fool.

Mark said...

And so is Dan.

Marshall Art said...


I doubt I'm in the minority and I KNOW I'm morally right. But let's again focus on what the real issue is: is there a time when enhanced interrogation techniques is justified? I believe the majority sides with me on the issue, particularly when all the facts are known. O'Reilly just had a poll on his site which drew responses from over 100,000 people. 98% agreed that the president should retain the right to order enhanced interrogations. One can argue the results of such polls, but 98% would suggest a majority in favor no matter what. In any case, as I said, majorities don't define moral. What is immoral is to risk lives in order to prevent discomfort to known terrorists.

Once again, I point to your dishonesty in continually framing the entire debate around the emotionally charged word "torture", rather than on the realities of the situation. The word is too broadly used and encompasses activities rarely even considered, much less used. But you brandish the word to score points and to evoke the images of far greater torments more common to its use in order to smear fellow Americans.

Marshall Art said...


"I think the odds are pretty low that America has always been in the right in every war it ever fought."I wouldn't bet that the odds are good that the intentions of America hasn't been pure as the driven snow in every case, either. So what? Does that mean we are equal to Nazi Germany? Are we the same as the scum in Somalia? Are we freakin' Hezb'allah? I don't think so. America, with all her faults, is a force for good in the world, and my money is on her being in the right should she ever decide to engage in warfare.

Dan Trabue said...

I point to your dishonesty in continually framing the entire debate around the emotionally charged word "torture", rather than on the realities of the situation.

1. I believe that the near drowning and suffocation pain associated with waterboarding IS torture. This is what I factually believe it to be. That fits the definition of torture - to physically torment and cause pain to a person. (Merriam Webster's definition: 1 a: anguish of body or mind : agony b: something that causes agony or pain 2: the infliction of intense pain).

2. It being the case that I think waterboarding fits the definition of torture, AND my recognition that historically and legally, it has been considered torture, then it is simply NOT the case that I am being dishonest to call it torture. It IS torture. It fits the definition of torture. It has historically and legally been considered torture. It IS torture.

There is no dishonesty in my considering it as such. Don't be ridiculous.

I "brandish the word" because waterboarding fits the dictionary and legal definition of the word. If you don't like that, take it up with Merriam Webster and the legal system. And again, don't be ridiculous. You have (once again) wrongly guessed as to my motives.

3. I fully recognize (as I have said already) that the majority does not always equal morality. I think clearly it does in this case.

4. That being the case, if you want to try to make your case to change our existing laws and morality, you can try. I don't think you'll have any luck.

In the meantime, those of us who are convinced that waterboarding is torture are morally compelled to prosecute it as such. I'm sure you can agree with this point, even if you disagree with us that it is torture.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall said:

America, with all her faults, is a force for good in the world, and my money is on her being in the right should she ever decide to engage in warfare.

Well, pardon my pointing it out, but that is a foolish and naive position to hold. You have more trust in BIG gov't than I do.

Marshall Art said...


First of all, waterboarding is designed to simulate drowning, not bring someone to the point of "near drowning". In other words, one can't drown so one is never "near drowning".

Secondly, I've never heard anyone describe it as physically painful, so we're dealing only with mental or emotional anguish. That makes incarceration itself torture as the deprivation of freedom is mental and emotional anguish.

Thirdly, now that I've called you on your use of the word "torture" for the benefit to your argument with its emotional impact, you pretend the debate here has been soley on waterboarding, which it hasn't. I've only mentioned waterboarding as the harshest of the enhanced techniques mentioned in the released memos. Are you now saying that should waterboarding be removed, then all other enhanced techniques are permissable, even with their own degree of physical and emotiona anguish?

Despite your claims of moral righteousness and Christian ideas of not fighting evil with evil, it seems you are playing the same games as the party you support regarding this issue.

"You have more trust in BIG gov't than I do."Not a big gov't issue, plus, it's not a matter of trust, but unlike your hypocrisy, I try to follow both good Christian teaching as well as good American principle. I don't ignore the teaching "Judge not lest ye be judged" nor the principle of "one is innocent until proven guilty". You continue to show your contempt for your fellow Americans by your assuming evil intentions of our elected officials.

Dan Trabue said...

Waterboarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages.

By forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences drowning and is caused to believe they are about to die. It is considered a form of torture by legal experts,politicians, war veterans, intelligence officials, military judges, and human rights organizations. As early as the Spanish Inquisition it was used for interrogation purposes, to punish and intimidate, and to force confessions.

In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, waterboarding precipitates a gag reflex almost immediately. The technique does not inevitably cause lasting physical damage. It can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, ultimately, death.


Dan Trabue said...

Its use was first documented in the 14th century, according to Ed Peters, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania. It was known variously as "water torture," the "water cure" or tormenta de toca — a phrase that refers to the thin piece of cloth placed over the victim's mouth...

"The patient strangled and gasped and suffocated and, at intervals, the toca was withdrawn and he was adjured to tell the truth. The severity of the infliction was measured by the number of jars [of water] consumed, sometimes reaching to six or eight," writes Henry Charles Lea in A History of the Inquisition of Spain.

"The thing you could not do in torture was injure the body or cause death," Peters says. That was — and still is — what makes waterboarding such an attractive interrogation technique, he says: It causes great physical and mental suffering, yet leaves no marks on the body.

NPR report

Mark said...

For what it's worth, I agree with Dan. I believe waterboarding to be torture for the reasons I stated over at my place.

That said, I don't have any problem with our side using it or any other real torture to gather info from them. They don't deserve kindness.

Besides, we aren't going to get them to talk by offering them a cookie.

I'd really like to know what Dan thinks would work to get them to talk, and keep in mind that these animals don't think like normal people. Being nice doesn't work, and never has, and never will, with these monsters.

Mark said...

NPR report.


Marshall Art said...


Thanks, but I'm not concerned with how it's been used in the past, but how it has been said to be used now. It has been stated that the technique is to create discomfort by simulating drowning. It is not the intention to cause harm but to extract important intel from uncooperative suspects. I've even heard that medical personel stand by monitoring the situation in order to protect the suspect from serious harm. (This seems to be supported by one of Marty's links to a physician's group)

With every post, Dan, it becomes more obvious that your concern is to accuse and convict someone for war crimes. I don't believe you have the least care for the suspects or the people that might be saved by their cooperation with our people.

Marshall Art said...


"I'd really like to know what Dan thinks would work to get them to talk, and keep in mind that these animals don't think like normal people."Only Marty has come close to offering anything, but it's related to WWII and I don't see how her link would be relative to the situation now.

But Dan isn't really concerned with anything more than getting Bush & Co. indicted for war crimes. No amount of lives saved seem to concern him.