James Zumwalt, a retired Marine writing at Human Events today, examines waterboarding.
We have heard a number of people in recent months and years, including presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain, who claim waterboarding is "torture" and shouldn't be used to obtain life-saving information from captured terrorists.
Were American forces to use this technique on every captured POW simply to gain whatever tidbits of miscellaneous information possible--much as the North Vietnamese did to POWs like John McCain (only using much more painful and damaging techniques)--then I would probably consider that an abuse of the technique and an abuse of the prisoners.
However, based on testimony from intelligence agents, it seems this was used on two or three terrorist prisoners to obtain vital information since the beginning of the war on terrorism. It seems to have been very successful, while inflicting no real pain (though a lot of discomfort) and no physical damage.
What's more, many Americans may not be aware that our special forces troops go through waterboarding as a part of their training, to help prepare them in the event they are captured by the enemy.
Would we subject our own troops to this, if it was such a heinous technique? It's effective in gathering information, but torture?
From Zumwalt's piece, here's what one special forces troop has to say about waterboarding:
While it is clearly a de-humanizing and unpleasant procedure that breaks one’s morale and will, he believes it is not torture. As a boxer, Wages took some devastating hits that were far more brutal and damaging to his body than was waterboarding. But even immediately after his second waterboarding experience, there were no lingering effects of physical bodily injury manifesting what he had just gone through -- seldom the case when torture is applied.
Editor Jed Babbin includes this editor's note, lest you think this is simply one GI Joe tough-guy who doesn't think waterboarding is torture:
I continue to get e-mails from active duty and retired naval aviators who were waterboarded in SERE training as recently as 2001. They, like Wages, don’t believe it is torture. And, to a man, they believe it should be used on terrorist suspects held overseas.
John McCain, a Vietnam POW who actually was tortured, should understand better than anyone that waterboarding isn't torture. The only reason I can think of to explain why he says it is may be his overwhelming compulsion to please the "mainstream" media. He knows he'll win points with them if he says things they like, so he says things they like.
But we don't need a media-pleaser as our president. This is a key reason why I haven't supported GOP candidates like John McCain and Mike Huckabee--neither of them has the resolve to deal firmly with international threats.
But don't get me wrong, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are even less equipped for dealing with foreign threats.
We're entering a time in America's history where we need God's protection more than ever...and given the way we've been thumbing our nose at Him, somehow I'm not confident we can count on it.