Thursday, July 3, 2008

No Matter What They Say, Waterboarding is Torture

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, journalist Christopher Hitchens admits that waterboarding is torture. That is the opposite of what he used to say. But now, Hitchens has written an article entitled "Believe Me, It’s Torture" & he admits that it is torture. He speaks from first hand experience too: you can watch the video of his experience.

Everything completely goes on you when you’re breathing water. You can’t think about anything else. It would be bad enough if you did have something, suppose they wanted to know where a relative of yours was, or a lover, you’d feel, ‘well, I’m going to betray them now, ’cause this has to come to an end, I can’t take this anymore.’ But what if you didn’t have anything? What if they’d got the wrong guy? Then you’d really be in danger of losing your mind very quickly.

Good question. What if they do have the wrong guy? It won't be the first time. (Link.)

Daniel Levin was the former acting assistant attorney general to John Ashcroft who did the same volunteer assignment in 2004. At that time, Levin was working on the Justice Department's official legal position on waterboarding. So he volunteered to see what it was like --- what better way to make the determination, right? His conclusion: it is torture. What happened to his official Department of Justice position paper? Well, it never got finished because Alberto Gonzales became attorney general, before he could complete a second memo that would have limited the military’s use of torture. (See ABC News Link.)

The Constitution prohibits torture. We've signed treaties saying we won't do it. The Army adopted policies saying we wont' do it. The US denied for years we ever used it --- until we got caught with the overwhelming evidence. Now, we admit we only use it --- when we "have to."

There are times when I'm not proud of how we do things. Treating the Constitution as a suggestion instead of the rule of law is a dangerous proposition.

1 comment:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

Yet another hammer to the nail in our coffin. I shudder to think what we will learn as more information becomes public. We can no longer publicly take the high road when our people are captured and tortured.