Friday, November 02, 2007

"I know waterboarding is torture - because I did it myself"

Lest any doubts linger about the judgment and honesty of attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey; a counterterrorism consultant for U.S. special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies named Michael Nance clears up the question of waterboarding:
As a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, I know the waterboard personally and intimately. Our staff was required to undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception.

I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school's interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques employed by the Army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What is less frequently reported is that our training was designed to show how an evil totalitarian enemy would use torture at the slightest whim.

Having been subjected to this technique, I can say: It is risky but not entirely dangerous when applied in training for a very short period. However, when performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique - without a doubt. There is no way to sugarcoat it.
You simply don't need to have access to any of the Bush administration's classified documents to know waterboarding is torture.

It always was torture.

Waterboarding was torture in 1947, when the United States prosecuted a Japanese military officer, Yukio Asano, for waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

waterboarding was torture in 2005, when the U.S. Department of State formally recognized "submersion of the head in water" as torture in its examination of Tunisia's record of human rights abuses.

Today, even some Republicans understand that waterboarding is torture.

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a military lawyer, knows it's torture.
John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam, said it "torture, no different than holding a pistol to his head and firing a blank."

But too many Republicans in Congress still need a magic piece of paper from George Bush to decide:
“I haven’t been briefed on it,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

“You know, you are talking about a classified matter,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “So I am not really comfortable talking about it.”

“Under exigent circumstances like the loss of thousands of citizens, a president would be derelict in his duty if he didn’t use all the resources he had,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), when asked whether he personally believed waterboarding is torture.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it depends.

“The issue may turn on a standard of does it shock the conscience, and that could involve a great many factors,” Specter said. ***

“I haven’t gotten the classified briefing yet,” [Lamar Smith (R-TX) top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee] said.
Let's all pray that GOP leaders don't need a "classified briefing" to tell them whether or not ripping and tearing out fingernails is torture.

1 comment:

I.M. Small said...


You tie some wrapping on his face and then you tie him down,
So fixed immobile he has no recourse,
Then when you pour the water it is like to make him drown--
As blind he neither understands the source

Nor can resist the awful press about to suffocate,
Controlled upon the incline to prolong,
Though in my vast experience it´s not too long a wait
If sometimes though the answers may be wrong.


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