Attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey says that he isn't sure whether waterboarding is torture, although he states that it is "repugnant to me". Many of the senators questioning him say that his confirmation is linked to his views on waterboarding.

Well, what is waterboarding exactly? It seems to involve somehow pouring water into a person's mouth or nose while he is lying flat on a board. How bad is that?

Here is a discussion of that technique by Malcom Nance in Small Wars Journal.


No votes yet

I don't know if I'd call waterboarding torture but it certainly gets close. I believe because of that distinction we should end that policy all together.

However I don't think the rest of the "enhanced techniques" are torture at all. In fact most are implemented in our own boot camps and basic training throughout our military services.

That being said I believe we should have the policy of "No techniques that we do not currently use as training for US Armed Forces".

Well maybe we should consider making them even listen to Eminem as torture. LOL



Don't worry, once Hillary takes over we will be using better kinds of interrogation. Wouldn't want to scare anyone would we?

Earlier in the week I focused on this story on my personal blog, and I did some research into past incidents of waterboarding and our governments response:

As early as 1901, a U.S. court martial sentenced Major Edwin Glenn to 10 years of hard labor for subjecting a suspected insurgent in the Philippines to the "water cure." After World War II, U.S. military commissions successfully prosecuted as war criminals several Japanese soldiers who subjected American prisoners to waterboarding. A U.S. army officer was court-martialed in February 1968 for helping to waterboard a prisoner in Vietnam.

If it was considered torture then? It's pretty obvious what it should be now.


We don't remember days only moments...

Here is the reason that Mukasey won't call waterboarding torture:

"Scott L. Silliman, an expert on national security law at Duke University School of Law, said any statement by Mr. Mukasey that waterboarding was illegal torture

The box is slightly open now with an administration that waives aside decades of precedent and conventions with a so-called war on terror which has no end date and is not even a war or conflict in the terms of the geneva Conventions and then the same administration uses tactics either directly or out sourced and continues to denigrate other countries for using the same tactics.

Every wonder why the U.S. was so resistant to U.S. forces being tried in the world court?


The point was not about POW's and is the war on terror actually a war with defined combatants?

If we look at the reports of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reports of white phosporus, monies paid because of killings of innocents, alleged and confirmed criminal acts of some of the forces, the waffling about what is and what is not torture, the desire to keep some of the forces out of the world court seems to come into focus.

Some of the forces were not instructed on the Geneva Conventions and so on and were turned loose and when the poop hit the fan, there was much fanfare about the rules now being taught to the troops.


Send these guys to Mid-East Intel facilities, they would be begging for Club Gitmo an the occasional waterboard.

"Enhanced interrogation"---this is the same term the Nazis used. Although, to them, even waterboarding was forbidden.....according to conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan.

If this isn't, what is?

"A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

"Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration

and damn fine job on the research....

Well, now there we go looking at precedent.

We admonish and support the countries that use torture and when it comes to our practices and policies the opinion of but one person can over turn the foundation of the precedent.


"Every wonder why the U.S. was so resistant to U.S. forces being tried in the world court?"

First the "world court" has no jurisdiction. Each country is soverign and only when a leader is diposed are they ever brought before anything resembling a world court. This is because the UN acknowledges each nations sovereignty.

Secondly, the US won't allow it because the US has a long history of treating it's captors better than it's enemies treat US POW's.

It's true even of this conflict. Where have you seen the US behead POW's?

People who insist that the POW's be extended habeas corpus and constitutional rights have no idea what the impact of that would be. That would legitimize treating our POW's under the law of another country. This would add legitimacy to the Taliban holding US soldiers under Shria law. Under which beheadings and stonings are allowed. So under that case US soldiers could be legally killed for not having a beard(something not allowed by the US military).

So if you think we should extend habeas corpus to POW's you are essentially saying it's ok to behead US soldiers for not growing a beard.



The Constitution and the Third Geneva Convention permit the government to detain enemy combatants for the duration of a conflict. In the administration

"Some of the forces were not instructed on the Geneva Conventions and so on and were turned loose and when the poop hit the fan, there was much fanfare about the rules now being taught to the troops."

The rules of war are taught yearly throughout our military services.

Every combat unit has a lawyer attached to them to define the rules of war as situations unfold.

And every boot camp or basic training teaches the Code of Conduct which is the rules that govern how a military member should act when taken prisoner and what is guaranteed to them under the convention.



"If this isn't, what is?"

I would say ultimately it is anything that causes permanent or temporary physical damage... not discomfort.

But as I said before this is getting close to that line.

To Chris:

Enhanced Techniques is what we do to our soldiers, sailors, and Marines. In boot camp I experienced time and sleep deprevation, prolonged standing, and was subjected to loud noises and screaming. I don't think any military member would categorize themselves as being "tortured".

If anything I'd say confinement on bread and water is more torture than anything I've heard of happening to the POW's. And confinement on bread and water is still a practiced US military punishment still in use today.



Great point.

Why then did we invade and other throw a sovereign leader in Iraq?

Doesn't regime change violate the soveriegn status of another country?


The reason the US withdrew from the World Court Treaty, even though Bill Clinton signed the treaty in 2000, was because the US was fearful that its military personnel, bureaucrats, and elected officials might be tried for war crimes. The court has no jurisdiction because we refused to allow Americans to be tried by the World Court. I wouldn't either if I were one of the top guys in this government.

"The US has vehemently opposed the setting up of the ICC, fearing its soldiers and diplomats could be brought before the court which will hear cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. " http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1970312.stm

Second, you say the US has a "long history" of treating its captors better than the enemy has treated ours. That's mythology. You've been watching too much History Channel again. Yes, the Japanese treatment toward our POWs was absolutely unbelievable. Still, our hands have not been clean either, but I won't go into our genocidal policy toward the indians in this country in the 1800s. Just look at this from the Second World War:

United States perpetrated crimes
Incident.... type of crime.... Persons responsible.... Notes
1. Unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping Breach of London Naval Treaty (1930) no prosecutions During the post war Nuremberg Trials, in evidence presented at the trial of Karl D

New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops
Soldiers Say Failures by Command Led to Abuse

(New York, September 24, 2005) -- U.S. Army troops subjected Iraqi detainees to severe beatings and other torture at a base in central Iraq from 2003 through 2004, often under orders or with the approval of superior officers, according to accounts from soldiers released by Human Rights Watch today.

According to the soldiers' accounts, U.S. personnel abused detainees as part of the military interrogation process or merely to

I wouldn't argue with you about it Mikey. But John McCain might.

"Why then did we invade and other throw a sovereign leader in Iraq?"

But remember Saddam Hussein wasn't tried in an International court he was tried by his own countrymen.



Pete I could discuss individual cases and how we didn't step up to the plate all day long. Likewise we could discuss the merits of the scorched earth policy vice the moral arguement against.

Yet still as a whole in since the signing of the Geneva Convention we have treated our enemies better than they have treated us.

"I haven't seen American soldiers behead prisoners, but I saw stories and photos of them cutting off ears as trophies during the Viet Nam War."

Even in this war you reference this was not an advocated policy yet our enemies abdicated real torture that not just caused uncomfort but permanent physical defects.

I have no doubt that if the current POW's weren't trying to attack the US from within we'd probably extend them the same quarter we extended to German POW's who were not only not confined but were even allowed to leave the bases of which they were held in order to shop in local towns.



I won't disagree with you or Sen. McCain when you feel it's torture. Personally I don't know if it is. His point of view isn't enough to change mine. Maybe if I experienced it or personally witnessed it I'd determine one way or another.

However because it gets too close to the definition of torture we should halt it's practice. Or at least use it in only extreme cases like where we know an attack is imminent and we have someone in custody that knows where it will occur.

I guess what I'm saying it shouldn't be practiced but I'm not going to put Jack Bauer on trial for stopping a dirty bomb attack.



Yes, and the country was sovereign and we invaded with no direct attack and over threw a regime.

Sovereignty means you are sovereign.

"Why then did we invade and other throw a sovereign leader in Iraq?"


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