Torturing the language of torture

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman

12/17/07

Is waterboarding, known during the Spanish Inquisition as tortura del agua, really torture or not? The question seems to answer itself, but the Bush administration says No. Its critics disagree, noting that the ‘interrogation technique,’ which makes a subject physically and mentally react as though he is drowning, has long been regarded as torture by international agreements and outlawed in the United States. The Washington Post reports that the Army investigated U.S. forces for using the method on a North Vietnamese in 1968. Moreover, ‘Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian,’ the Post reported. Asano was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor. Despite all this, the Bush administration and its knee-jerk supporters incoherently maintain (1) that waterboarding is not torture, and (2) that it’s effective at getting hardened terrorists to spill their guts with useful information that enables the U.S. government to save innocent lives. Which is it?

//www.fff.org/comment/com0712e.asp


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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