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Waterboarding: A necessary evil?Posted Friday, February 8, 2008, at 10:28 AM
I've got mixed emotions on waterboarding, the torture technique used by CIA interrogators against suspected al-Qaida detainees.
Is pouring water over the cloth-covered face of a strapped-down person inhumane? Yes, in nearly all cases. It's a technique that should never be used by, for instance, local police forces.
The Supreme Court and Congress are against it and the CIA's banned it. The Bush administration still supports it and say they'd approve it in some cases.
But for professional terrorists bent on mass destruction or bringing down a country, the rules change a little.
In extreme, rare, controlled cases, against utter extremists who would torture any of us much more severely if they had the chance, waterboarding may be necessary.
I'd guess the three terrorists who underwent the technique know and may have used a few terror methods of their own. They aren't naive. They're in one of the world's most dangerous and cut-throat occupations.
And I suspect those terrorists knew the U.S. wasn't going to actually drown them.
But I'm not exactly thrilled by the defensive attitudes of Vice President Cheney and the U.S. Justice Department, who are strongly against any investigations into U.S. use of waterboarding.
Bush "made the right decisions for the right reasons," Cheney said. "And would I support those same decisions again today? You're damn right I would."
Cheney seemed to me to be more concerned about politics. After all, Bush and Cheney have candidate John McCain to back.
And it's notable Cheney made the statement on the same day that withdrawing candidate Mitt Romney said if he stayed in the primary it would "...make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."
Just be glad they didn't turn Cheney loose with a weapon near any suspects. There would be too much risk for the interrogators, let alone the suspects.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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