Torture doesn’t work…ok, so where’s the disagreement?


ARLINGTON, VA - DECEMBER 15: (L-R) US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, US President George W. Bush and US Vice President Dick Cheney attend the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute to Rumsfeld at the Pentagon December 15, 2006 in Arlington, Virginia. Praise was heaped on the outgoing secretary by Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld used his farewell speech to call for an increase in military spending. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The history of the United States military is clear: Torture doesn’t work”Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

“We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.”Vice President Dick Cheney

“This country doesn’t torture, we’re not going to torture.”President Bush

Agents searching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s compound discovered what one official later called a “mother lode” of valuable intelligence. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was obviously planning more attacks. It didn’t sound like he was willing to give us any information about them. “I’ll talk to you,” he said, “after I get to New York and see my lawyer.”

George Tenet asked if he had permission to use enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I thought about my meeting with Danny Pearl’s widow, who was pregnant with his son when he was murdered. I thought about the 2,973 people stolen from their families by al Qaeda on 9/11. And I thought about my duty to protect the country from another act of terror.

“Damn right,” I said.

Decision Points, pg 170, by George W. Bush

When asked about future plots, KSM’s reply was, “Soon you will know.” Like Abu Zubaydah before him, KSM was trained to resist standard interrogation techniques. After being waterboarded by his CIA interrogators, Zubaydah thanked them and told them, “You must do this for all the brothers.”

Around my last year of college, I picked up some work as a loss prevention specialist for a major retail clothing company. Aside from acting as an in-house detective on occasion, I also worked different stores in the district, training the sales staff in areas of loss prevention.

The person I answered to was the regional loss prevention manager who hired me. She was amazing! I had the privilege of sitting in on a couple of her interviews as she interrogated employees suspected of internal theft. After the interviews, she’d walk me through and point out the employee’s body language throughout key moments in the interview; the questions she asked, why she asked them at the moment she chose to ask them; she educated me on where the employee’s missteps were and when it became obvious to her that the employee was fabricating, hiding something, etc. By the end of the interrogation, the terminated employee would walk out of the room in a daze. Throughout the process, my boss basically got the thief to confess through a kind of relationship-building. It was so intense, that even after it was over, the employee left still feeling like my boss was somehow an understanding friend.

She confided in me that there was a time in her youth that she was approached by the Secret Service and the CIA to work for them. She was THAT good, apparently. I remember asking her why she didn’t take the job offer with the Secret Service and she simply told me she didn’t want to have to take a bullet.

What she taught me from the small amount of exposure I had been given, was just how much of an art it was to interrogate people. Watching her at work, then having her interpret for me later on what I failed to see, was like watching/listening and appreciating/analyzing good poetry.

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the nature of the CIA program under the Bush Administration that involved enhanced interrogation. So much so, that even experts in the field of interrogation have been misled into false assumptions about what the CIA interrogation program was all about. One such expert is Matthew Alexander (a pseudonym) whose book, Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist, I recently purchased.

Fortunately, early in 2010, an important book came out to try and set the record straight by defending those CIA interrogators who, up until then, could not openly speak out to defend themselves from all the slander, distortions, and assumptions about their work. The public should not have had knowledge of the details, let alone our enemies. But thanks to the leaks, media hysteria, hype, and distortions, partisan politics over patriotism, and finally the release of the OLC memos by the Obama administration, Marc Thiessen was able to shoot back with his book. As he puts it in his Author’s Note and has stated in interviews, You should not be reading this book. I should not have been able to write it.”

The public discourse over the CIA program has in itself killed it. Its effectiveness was in the “not-knowing”; in the uncertainty. Waterboarding had already been discontinued (I think in 2003) long before President Obama’s first executive order, redundantly “banning” what was already banned. Revelations about its existence and details already effectively killed its value to CIA interrogators. Now, like those in our military who undergo waterboarding in SERE training, al Qaeda operatives can now add it to their list in interrogation resistance training. According to Thiessen, KSM, who is said to have received upward of 183 splashes during his waterboarding sessions, figured out just how long his interrogators could waterboard him for and would count down the seconds on one hand. Matthew Alexander and critics argue that this is proof of how ineffective waterboarding is. I’d say it bolsters the argument that the CIA method of waterboarding hardly constitutes the kind of waterboarding that does cross the line from the simulated feeling of drowning to one of actual drowning and torture.

The effectiveness of the CIA techniques was in the pretense of torture; of making the terrorist believe that things were worse than they actually were. As Marc Thiessen describes it:

The effect of the techniques is psychological, not physical. They trick the terrorists into thinking what they are enduring is worse than it really is.

It’s like the show Magic’s Biggest Secrets Revealed — once you know how the magician saws the woman in half, you’re not fooled. The same goes for enhanced interrogation.

In a strange twist of irony, the media falsehoods about torture at the hands of our CIA, as damaging as it’s been to our reputation in the world, may also have helped to perpetuate the “magic trick”-purpose of EITs:

The story of one senior al-Qaeda terrorist, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, illustrates the point. When Abd al-Hadi was brought to a CIA black site, agency officials told him, “We’re the CIA.” He replied, “I’ve heard of you guys. I’ll tell you anything you need to know.” And he did. Detainees like Abd al-Hadi cooperated without enhanced techniques because they feared enhanced techniques.

In wake of the “waterboarding” of Osama bin Laden’s carcass at the beginning of this month, new partisan questions have arisen regarding which administration should be credited the most with “having brought him to justice” (and his 72 urchins).

This has reignited the debate between defenders of the Bush-era CIA practice of enhanced interrogation and those attackers who choose to label it “torture” and “ineffective”, plain and simple.

Like Ali Soufan, Matthew Alexander is an expert in his field who has served his country honorably; both have played important roles in the fight against the al Qaeda network and affiliates. Both men have also been lionized by liberals (holding credibility for their expertise in the field of interrogation) on account of their scathing criticism of the CIA enhanced interrogation program; and in calling the Bush administration out with the torture charge. I, the non-expert, however, believe they themselves have been misled, just like these WWII vets and that the proof is in Thiessen’s research. I believe Thiessen’s work trumps their own assumptions regarding the CIA program as it functioned under President Bush.

In Alexander’s book, he stresses the importance of relationship-building as it relates to interrogating suspects and captures. By emphasizing this, critics of enhanced interrogations are setting up a strawman. What they don’t seem to get or acknowledge is that the CIA absolutely believes in and acknowledges the virtues of the relationship-building approach as well.

Pg. 91 from Ronald Kessler’s The Terrorist Watch:

The CIA interrogated captured terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and at secret locations throughout the world such as Bagram Air Force Base, an American installation in Afghanistan. While the CIA used coercive methods like depriving suspects of sleep and forcing them to kneel for hours, the CIA believed that actual torture involving infliction of pain produced bad information. Simply offering terrorists tea and sympathy was often enough to get al Qaeda members to talk. Often, the Stockholm Syndrome took over. Most al Qaeda members cooperated after a day or two. If not, they might be turned over to intelligence services in Egypt, Morocco, or Jordan where rough techniques could be used.

“You start by getting him talking to you,” David Manners, the former station chief in Jordan, says. “You start with items you already know about. That shows him you know a lot. His defenses diminish. Then you ask about items you don’t know about. Beating a guy up doesn’t work. He will tell you anything to stop the pain. We never used such tactics.”

Marc Thiessen would agree, based upon his research and interviews with those CIA interrogators who themselves were directly involved in the CIA program.

In the opening prologue to Kill or Capture, Alexander talks about how legendary WWII-era interrogators stuck to American values and principles, never resorting to torture. Well, guess what? The very best American interrogators- including Alexander, Soufan, and those directly involved in the CIA enhanced interrogation program- also uphold American values and principles; and also do not believe in the effectiveness of torture.

Incidentally, according to Eisenhower and the German POWs by Stephen Ambrose and Gunter Bishhof, as many as 56,000 German POWs- about 1% of the total numbers captured by war’s end- may have died while in U.S. custody. Contrast this with the .125% in today’s GWoT: Human Rights First reported in a 2006 study that since August of 2002, 100 detainees held by the CIA and the U.S. military had died while in captivity (According to military records, 34 of these are suspected or confirmed homicides). According to Department of Defense figures, by 2006, over 80,000 have been held under U.S. custody in the War on Terror.

So where lies the historical precedence that the Bush Administration behaved worse or that those under its leadership behaved worse than Americans of previous generations and of previous administrations? It doesn’t exist, other than in the fevered imaginings of media hype, sensationalizing and distorting the record.

Only about 100 terrorists were ever held in the CIA program that saw fit to subject only 30 of those 100 to enhanced interrogations (and of these only 3 were waterboarded; how many detainees both military and CIA were ever waterboarded at Guantanamo? Answer: Zero). The techniques used arguably do not rise to the level of definition for torture and were cleared by the legal counsel of the Justice Department and CIA lawyers. The European Court for Human Rights, which has a more restrictive definition of “inhuman and degrading treatment” than Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, also determined in Ireland vs. United Kingdom that the 5 techniques (wall-standing, hooding, noise, sleep deprivation, food and drink deprivation) used by British interrogators did not amount to the level of definition for torture.

When critics say, “people will tell you whatever you want them to say to make the torture stop”, what they are saying is that they completely do not have a grasp of the CIA program or the purpose for coercive techniques. Enhanced interrogations were not used to elicit confessions but to gain cooperation, after which normal relationship-building interrogation is established (de-briefing). Those 30 detainees who became candidates for enhanced interrogations were tough. A number of them most likely received extensive training in interrogation resistance for them to have entered the program.

As Thiessen wrote recently in WaPo:

Interrogators would never have asked about the names of couriers during waterboarding. As I explain in my book, “Courting Disaster,” enhanced techniques were not used to gain intelligence; they were used to elicit cooperation. According to former CIA director Mike Hayden, as enhanced techniques were applied, CIA interrogators would ask detainees questions to which the interrogators already know the answers — allowing them to judge whether the detainees had reached a level of compliance. “They are designed to create a state of cooperation, not to get specific truthful answers to a specific question,” Hayden said.

Once interrogators determined a terrorist had become cooperative, the techniques stopped and traditional, non-coercive methods of questioning were used. Moreover, the use of enhanced techniques wasn’t needed for two-thirds of the detainees in CIA custody . Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the “capture shock,” arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to persuade most of them to cooperate.

Alexander makes the argument in his article that there are negative consequences to torturing your captured enemies aside from the unreliability of confessed information:

Those consequences include the fact that torture handed al Qaeda its No. 1 recruiting tool, a fact confirmed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s interrogators in Iraq who questioned foreign fighters about why they had come there to fight. (I have first-hand knowledge of this information because I oversaw many of these interrogations and was briefed on the aggregate results.) In addition, future detainees will be unwilling to cooperate from the onset of an interrogation because they view all Americans as torturers. I heard this repeatedly in Iraq, where some detainees accused us of being the same as the guards at Abu Ghraib.

I have no doubt that many foreign fighters and Muslims embraced the jihad just as many Americans began enlisting after 9/11. A desire to protect your tribe is a natural, noble, universal instinct; a desire to defend your own. Abu Ghraib almost single-handedly cost us Iraq and gave al Qaeda new life. But more so than the actual abuses that happened there, more than any actual instances of abuses that happened at Guantanamo, Bagram, or anywhere under CIA and U.S. military supervision, was the media hyperventilation and overexaggeration of any actual let alone alleged abuses that occurred. Media distortions and misguided human rights watch groups, absent of real facts, did just as much to recruit jihadis as anything that actually happened in earnest. Jihadi propaganda could not have crafted a more self-serving narrative than the one world opinion shaped for them.

As Thiessen writes, “It is this myth, not the CIA’s actions, that has harmed America’s reputation across the globe” (Courting Disaster, pg 172)

Americans do not condone torture. Neither President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, nor Marc Thiessen endorse torture. They are not “torture apologists”, nor am I. (“Torture deniers”, maybe…might be a label I’d be willing to wear 😉 )

Yes, abuses happened. But these were the exceptions, outside the norm; never part of military or CIA policy. Those abusers were prosecuted and punished.

Honest debate can be made regarding where the line in the sand should have been drawn. But it is dishonest and wrong to compare “the belly slap”, “walling” and SERE-inspired waterboarding to actual water torture by Japanese soldiers or waterboarding during the Inquisition. It is so much hyperbolic nonsense and slander. And it fuels enemy propaganda for recruitment and support.

As Thiessen writes on pg 193 of Courting Disaster,

It speaks well of our country that many Americans are uncomfortable with enhanced interrogation. We should be uncomfortable with these techniques, just as we should be uncomfortable with the decision to go to war. Americans always go to war reluctantly, recongizing that war is a tragedy, even when it is necessary and just. The same is true for coercive interrogations. It is tragic that coercive interrogations were needed, and it speaks well of our country that we placed so many liimits on them. But the CIA’s actions were not only necessary and effective- they were also moral and just.

Former President Bush:

Our intelligence officers carried out their orders with skill and courage, and they deserve our gratitude for protecting our nation. Legal officials in my administration did their best to resolve complex issues in a time of extraordinary danger to our country. Their successors are entitled to disagree with their conclusions. But criminalizing differences of legal opinion would set a terrible precedent for our democracy.

From the beginning, I knew the public reaction to my decisions would be colored by whether there was another attack. If none happened, whatever I did would probably look like an overreaction. If we were attacked again, people would demand to know why I hadn’t done more.

That is the nature of the presidency. Perceptions are shaped by the clarity of hindsight. In the moment of decision, you don’t have that advantage. On 9/11 I vowed that I would do what it took to protect America, within the Constitution and laws of our nation. History can debate the decisions I made, the policies I chose, and the tools I left behind. But there can be no debate about one fact: After the nightmare of September 11, America went seven and a half years without another successful terrorist attack on our soil. If I had to summarize my most meaningful accomplishment as president in one sentence, that would be it.
Decision Points, pg 180-181

Photo by Jim Young, Reuters

Over half of what the CIA learned about al Qaeda can be traced back directly to the CIA enhanced interrogation program. Terror plots were derailed. al Qaeda operatives killed or captured. And it now appears the killing of Osama bin Laden can be traced back to information gleaned from the CIA program.

American lives have been saved thanks to the CIA interrogators, who did not compromise American principles and values in the handling of our enemies- those who wish us grave harm. Many have been treated with compassion and decency; some received tough treatment, for sure. And deservedly so where American lives are at stake.

What on earth do we have to apologize to the world for? Instead, we should be thanked, just as Abu Zubaydah thanked his CIA interrogators. The world is made safer by what we do; it is not made safer by the spin that distorts what we do.

Thank the CIA, the military, and our elected officials who have to make tough decisions everyday to keep America and the rest of the world safe.

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EXCELLENT article, Word!

You lay out in a concise, direct manner what many of us knew all along – that the USA does not torture. No matter what the liberal press says, the CIA is to be commended on their actions in this matter.

One thing you wrote jumped out at me:

Media distortions and misguided human rights watch groups, absent of real facts, did just as much to recruit jihadis as anything that actually happened in earnest.

But that doesn’t surprise me when we have media that willingly make public state secrets, ala NYTimes:

From 2006

The Times’s latest revelation of a national security secret appeared on last Friday’s front page–where no al Qaeda operative could possibly miss it. Under the deliberately sensational headline, “Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror,” the Times blows the cover on a highly targeted program to locate terrorist financing networks. According to the report, since 9/11, the Bush administration has obtained information about terror suspects’ international financial transactions from a Belgian clearinghouse of international money transfers.

True journalism died long ago…

I was reading up on ritual bathing in Islam the other day.
Part of it involved sucking water up through the nostrils then rinsing them clean.
So, when you quoted , Zubaydah thanking his CIA questioners and telling them, “You must do this for all the brothers,” I wondered if he was used to getting water up his nose more so than a Westerner might be.

The Obligatory Acts Of Ghusl (Ritual Bathing) are:

1- Drawing water into the mouth and gargling once,

2- Sniffing water into the nostrils and cleansing the nostrils well once,

3- Bathing the entire body once, in such manner that there remains no dry spot.

How To Make Ghusl In A Perfect Way

We say the formula of Bismillah and make the intention to perform ghusl “I intend to make ghusl!” We wash our hands well and clean any dirtiness from our body.

We then make a minor ritual ablution as for ritual prayer. While making the ablution, we take plenty of water into the mouth and gargle, and the nostrils and blow the nose to cleanse the mouth and nostrils well.

We pour water three times over the head first, then three times over the right shoulder and again three times over the left shoulder, each time rubbing well the entire body. Water in this process must reac each and ever part of the entire body in the order that there doesn’t reaming a single dry spot.

Those Devotions We Are Not Allowed To Perform Without Having Ritual Bath

1- We can not perform a ritual prayer,

2- We can not touch the Noble Qur’an or any verse of the Noble Qur’an

3- We can not read the Noble Qur’an,

4- We can not go around (circumambulate) the Holy Kaaba,

5- We can not enter the mosque (mejid) unless we are forced to do so (in emergency).


I have a working title for you.


Just a thought, Word.


I have great respect for his military service, me being a veteran myself. I have little respect for his political career, which seems more opportunist, with his swaying whichever way the wind seems to be blowing at the time. I respect more, the words from Thiessen on the issue, whom I have heard speak on it many times.

As for the Clueless title, it refers more to his political life than anything else.

there is a reason despots thruout history have use harsh interrogation up to and including torture to elicit information from their captured domestic enemies … it works … not for getting confessions but for getting verifiable information … (try giving false information to the dictator who still has you tied up in a prison cell … see how quickly you start giving up the truth when they return to notify you that you lied, or you die trying not to talk …)

WORDSMITH, I always thought that THE CIA OFFICERS who died in AFGHANISTAN
bythe suicide bomber a sometimes ago, where killed because of the government restrictions on their work usual action to find the heads of ennemies strategy activated from other surrounded muslims country,that where believed to be peacefull and containing extermists undercover,
they [CIA] where restricted in their work, and it is more likely that brought their covers to t
be expose. causing the valuable agents to loose their life.

“Abu Gharib almost singlehandedly cost us Iraq and gave Al Qaeda new life”

I have to disagree with that statement. It only shows that the author doesn’t seem to know the history of the rise in insurgency in Iraq. Did Abu Gharib make things worse? No, no worse that what had already been planned with the help of Iran. And that statement is like the ones made by people who claim if we (us infidels) would just get out of the Middle East, the terrorists would then return to their goat herds and dreaming of getting a new 12 year old wife.

Al Qaeda means the base, and it is the base (movement) that simply reinstated a long ago war where the Islamic hordes were defeated. The “new” war was even started on the very day that the “old” war ended. As to McCain’s opinion, well, that is just McCain being McCain. What he endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese far surpassed the type of inhanced interrogation, including waterboarding, that KSM was put through. And if you read McCain’s book, in it he admits that he did give the NV more information that he should have, all under duress of course. IOW, McCain broke. and he knows it.

The author IS correct in remarking that the type of waterboarding used by our CIA doesn’t come close to resembling the type of water boarding used by the Japanese in WWII. Not even close.

The funny thing is when you ask someone who is against waterboarding, and thinks it is torture, if they would waterboard someone who had kidnapped their child but refused to tell the police where that child was yet claiming that child was still alive, but not for long, they will hem and haw, but if honest they will say “Yes, ah, but that is different.” No, it’s not except for the fact that we are then talking about hundreds of children, maybe thousands, not just one. Kristin Powers was ask that exact question to which she replied “I don’t have any children, but yes, to save my child I would do anything.”

retire05, hi, I see you are making a valuable point, to the argument of who would be willing to
have a criminal waterbording to make him tell where the child is, they agree but they found
the unnessesary excuse to add up “that is not the same”
that means they calibrate crime in a way of yes for that, no for terrorist, that is the tought that is fashionable with the now democrats in power, they kept apologising for AMERICA
and the bravest on how they treat ennemies,subjecting them to the RULES OF ENGAGEMENTS,
that is against the logic of war.

Wordsmith, you are absolutly right ,the MEDIA appointed to the DEMOCRATS always over blow those news of abuse of prisonners they don’t need any sound proof to do it, and wont spare our own military
as accusing them to abuse the ennemies, but they wont show how our own soldiers get blown up by clusters of bombs,
and what if they survived how do they cope with all the trauma after, they are showing protecting the ennemies, and it play in the hands of the ennemy strategist so well that they stage all kinds of false abuses and video the event to distribute those around the world. why? because the MEDIA believe them
over their own BRAVES MILITARYS.

Great Read! Exposing what our Military uses to keep this country safe is more Liberal Ideology and has been such a travesty. Americans do not need to know the ” tricks of the trade”. Our Government and our Military’s function is to keep America and American’s [S A F E ]. I don’t need to know when, or care ‘how’ the Military/CIA/FBI Operates when it comes to [Enemies] who are hell bent on Killing Americans and destroying this Beautiful Country of Ours… And I THANK Our Service Men and Women for doing such a tough job!

Although I don’t agree with ‘everything’ in the story, but, I do believe the famous line of Colonel Jessup…
[ ]
…”You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. [ I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. ] I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to. Source: Movie “A Few Good men”

FAITH7, that is so well said,

wordsmith, I really don’t care what Alexander said. Perhaps he is willing to buy into the terrorists’ most recent excuse for why they are trying to kill infidels. But before the “Abu Ghraib” excuse there was the “infidels on Islamic soil” excuse and before that there was another excuse, and another, and another. It makes you wonder what excuse the Islamic hordes gave to Charles Martel, doesn’t it?

There is really only one “excuse” and that is the conquering of the infidel world in the name of Allah. Anything else else is just window dressing. It is the very reason that the date 9-11 was chosen. It is how the terrorists justify the killing of innocent Muslims, along with the infidels.

Our interrogation techniques should have NEVER been exposed. NEVER. There are too many bleating (yes, I spelled it correctly) who object to any kind of physical force as they think that nothing ever bad will ever happen to them. And any sign of “humanity” is seen by AQ as a weakness not an American value. Too many talking heads trying to make a buck out of telling the enemy how “sensitive” we are to the feelings of our enemy. Under FDR, during WWII, these people would have been jailed, not throwing book signings.

Outstanding post and commentary, this is indeed a great place!


Now why would anyone give you a thumbs down for your comment? Sheesh!

MISSYhi, so good to have you around, someone give me a thumb down,
might be for my errors on writting, any way If I catch the culprit, it will get many thumbs down,
but I do give some myself,and they probably know It’s me, so I get even, and I know my friends,
and ennemies,
I’m glad to see that you have some free times now, for us to probe you’re knowledge so vast it is,

I always give beezy a thumbs up!

anticsrocks thank you, I am priviledge to have you as a friend too.


I have some free time because it has rained all day, we need it, maybe not two more days of it though.

It’s not your fault for the thumbs down, it’s because someone is mean.

I agree, antics is a sweetie! Isn’t it nice to be old, we can get fresh and no one cares, I love that about my age and I’m not meaning you are old Beezy, speaking for self.

MISSY, you are so young compare to many others who stop to think for themself, and choose the eazy way to listen and believe in some NEWS WHICH ARE GIVING A SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES,
THOSE ARE OLD TO MY VIEW and lost the capacity of judging underneath the message’s bait
directed at them for the only prpose TO GET THEIR VOTES.

@Missy: Thanks Missy. You make me smile, but I gotta tell you I am old too. In fact, I am so old my SS# is 11…


@ Word
Very nice post. I will be ordering Thiessen’s book to my Kindle this evening.

As for McCain, I believe we’ve had this discussion before. Although I respect his service highly, I don’t necessarily feel his opinions need carry the same weight. A lot of the things done to McCain and others at the HH were not done just to get information, a lot of it was terroristic activity. Our troops at the time knew what would await them if they were captured, and that is what I mean by terroristic.

Waterboarding is not torture. If you have never seen the show Surviving the Cut, I highly recommend it. Here is a brief part of the Water Confidence Course for Pararescue:
If you take a close look, you can see their masks are filled with water and they are hosing down their faces. You will suck water in and you will throw up. And that’s nothing compared to the Combat Diver’s course. Not everyone in SERE School gets waterboarded. They profile you to see what will and won’t work on you. There are much worse things than getting waterboarded and they aren’t all physical.

Can anyone who believes waterboarding isn’t torture please sign up to be waterboarded….and then let us know whether they think it’s just ‘splashes’ or torture.

@GaffaUK: Unpleasant, scary, very frightening even – yes. Torture? Nope.


So if a US citizen (either soldier or civilian) was detained by a foreign government who accused that individual of terrorism and they decided to waterboard that individual to gain either information or compliance – then that’s ok with you?

I bet people who really were tortured (like John McCain and also one of my teachers from high school) would have much rather preferred waterboarding over what was actually done to them.
Then there was Ilan Halimi.
Have you even read what was done to him by Muslims?
They burned him, sliced parts off him, beat him, clubbed him, made him drink toxins, left him almost dead on a railroad track after WEEKS of torture in 2006.
The veteran cop who found him still alive threw up out of revulsion.
His only crime was being a Jew in France.

Nan G, hi, that is terrible, nobody on this side of the world would even think of doing only one
of those, I have read of some tortures done by those inhuman tactics on some of our people,
and no matter how we want to understand that behavior is not a human action,
and not an animal action, It is lower than that, we can mention the word evil,
and they are the proof of evil existence in this EARTH, to be cast out in the fire pit

Gaffa UK, you should concentrate on those storys instead of trying to pin theUSA

Is that foreign government a signatory to Geneva? If so, the uniformed soldier has POW status, no? Did they first try standard interrogation practices? Determine that this is in fact a captured terrorist, hardened and trained to resist traditional interrogation methods? Did they seek legal, medical, moral counsel to make sure they didn’t cross a line?

Is it waterboarding you have a problem with (done on only 3 terrorists and not in effect since 2003)? Or any coercive, enhanced interrogation practices (used on only 30 out of 100 detained in the CIA program- the other 2/3rds received standard interrogation techniques to obtain compliance for debriefing)?

Do any of these questions of yours make a difference to whether you believe a foreign government should waterboard someone who hasn’t been convicted of any crime?

Let’s see…
If a US citizen was waterboarded in a country that hadn’t signed the Geneva Convention would that be ok?
If a US soldier was caught on foreign soil out of uniform and was waterboarded would that be ok?
If a country, say Iran, captured a US citizen accused them of being a terrorist – tried standard interrogation practices, claimed that they were hardened and trained to resist traditional interrogation methods and then claimed that they sought legal, medical, moral counsel to make sure they didn’t cross a line and then waterboarded the US citizen – would that be ok? Is torturing someone a few times ok? Is torturing because you are after compliance rather than answers ok? And you want compliance because you want answers – so really the same thing.

If I was accused of a crime in a foreign country then I would want a lawyer and be tried by trial and not to be tortured or waterboarded. If you wish US citizens traveling abroad to have those basic rights then those rights should also work in reverse. Otherwise if the end justifies the means then all sorts of behavior becomes justifiable. If a ‘suspected’ terrorist refused to give up info and the only way to save potentially thousands of lives was to torture or even kill one of his kids – would you allow it?

Gaffa UK, HEY , DON’T YOU THINK IT would save the troups to be caught by ennemies who would not waterboard them but slowly torture them till death, so I REPEAT to save our troops
you kill them before because this is a WAR, and to give them a chance they won’t give you,
is to side up with them and care for the well being of the ENNEMIES AS OPPOSE TO OUR TROOPS IS TREASON.
look at it any way you want, WHOEVER SIDE WITH THE ENNEMIES IS A TRAITOR


So any guerillas (without uniform) that the US have supported in the past or currently if caught deserve to be executed. Or indeed any American fighting along side them who are out of uniform? And do you believe that any people that the UK put in prison in the 70s and early 80s accusing them of being IRA terrorists – but without trial and being held indefinitely was ok? So all a nation needs to do is capture an American citizen either in their own country or abroad, accuse them of being an illegal combatant (whether they genuinely believe this or not) and then let the waterboarding begin? And you would have no problem with that???

@GaffaUK: 🙄


I did order it and read it and this weekend I started re-reading it because you have brought up things in the book that I had forgotten. Since I don’t intend to pass this book along I’m bending pages and underlining.