The Ethics of Torture

Topics: Waterboarding, Enhanced interrogation techniques, George W. Bush Pages: 2 (644 words) Published: March 29, 2012
Torture is Torture. Period
Torture is causing pain and suffering to gain information and confessions. It’s a traditional, historical, well-understood term. Waterboarding is a form of torture in which a bound, gagged prisoner is forced to breathe in water. There are several techniques but all produce the same effects, a physical sensation of drowning and a psychological sensation of panic, fear and loss of control. Calling it anything other than torture is absurd. You wouldn’t call a bank robbery a “cash gathering technique,” even if the president said it was so. There are no such things as “enhanced interrogation methods.” That is the euphemism the Bush administration used in 2002 when they were redefining torture so the president could authorize it. There is never an excuse to torture a person, not even during war. It undermines our cause, endangers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity, and it breeds more enemies of the United States than coercive interrogation methods will ever allow us to capture. As recently as November 12th of this year, Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann said during a Republican presidential debate in South Carolina that they would approve waterboarding of prisoners to extract information. They denied that waterboarding is torture, even though it’s been classified as such since the Spanish Inquisition. “Very disappointed by statements at S.C. GOP debate supporting waterboarding,” Senator John McCain wrote on Twitter two days later. “Waterboarding is torture.” This is a man who was a POW during the Vietnam War. Having been tortured at the hands of the North Vietnamese, he knows first-hand what that kind of treatment can do to a human being.

If we truly believe ourselves to be a model for the world and an example for all of history, then why would we practice torture? When you pour water onto someone until he gasps for air and feels as if he’s drowning, you’re not enhancing your interrogation. You’re putting...
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