'Tens of thousands of American Air Force and naval airmen were waterboarded as part of their survival training,' said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 'We don't maim as part of our training. We don't mutilate. We don't sodomize. Those are things that are always bad. . . . Intellectually, there has got to be a difference between [waterboarding] and the others; otherwise we wouldn't have done it in training.'This waterboarding business troubles me. What is it that makes waterboarding sometimes OK?
That waterboarding is useless, along with all torture (whether waterboarding is torture or not) is almost certainly false.
Maiming, mutilation and sodomy, I agree, are always wrong. Why? They shock the consience? I don't know. Topic for another day. I can think of many ways torturing that would always be wrong. But then, I can think of many tortures that seem similar to waterboarding in that they don't involve maiming, mutilation or sodomy.
How about the intent? Is it not torture if the intent is relatively pure?
Some torture is primarily for intimidation. Jacobo Timerman and a thousand tortured Iraqi bodies in the streets come to mind. In contrast, some torture is performed strictly for interrogation purposes. For some reason I think waterboarding may be effective for interrogation because of the hard-wired responses invoked, and less so for intimidation because it's quick and then over (supposedly), but then what of electricity or drugs?
If waterboarding is permissible, why not electric shock? Maybe because it's not as effective, lacking the same hard-wired responses that waterboarding is supposed to have?
I don't know. I'm still thinking about it, but so far I'm open to the administration's reported stance on waterboarding in the most pressing cases.