Thursday, April 23, 2009

# Posted 4:12 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HAYDEN ON WATERBOARDING: Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, walked a fine line this past Sunday on the question of whether waterboarding is torture. His message seemed to be, "I know it's wrong. I'm proud I stopped it. It may be torture. But in this charged partisan environment, I'm not going to say that explicitly." Check it out:

WALLACE: One of the concerns about the memos is the lengths to which the Justice Department went to justify some of the techniques.

I want to put up a 2002 memo that defended waterboarding. "Although the waterboard constitutes a threat of immediate death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result to violate the statutory prohibition on infliction of severe mental pain or suffering."

Question: Are you satisfied that waterboarding is not torture?

HAYDEN: I'm satisfied that the Justice Department, in a series of opinions — '02, '03, '05 — said that it was not. Now...

WALLACE: Well, we know that.

HAYDEN: But keep in mind, waterboarding had not been using since the spring of 2003. Waterboarding was one of the techniques that I took off the table formally and officially when I became director and reshaped the program.

WALLACE: Because you thought it was torture?

HAYDEN: No. I reshaped the program because the legal landscape had changed, the operational landscape had changed, and we knew more about Al Qaeda, all right, and the sense of threat under which we were operating had changed.


HAYDEN: I never — I never committed the agency to using waterboarding, and I've been asked this question before. I had to make my own tough decisions. I thank God I didn't have to make the kinds of decisions that my predecessors had to make in 2002 and 2003.
Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(9) opinions -- Add your opinion

...and home of the semi-brave, at times, well...if the CULTure says it's AOK...they were only followin' orders.
"Torture" is a useless term. It's meaning is purely definitional--if there is a consensus that waterboarding is torture, then it is. No consensus, no torture.

And as far as the government is concerned, it seems to me the consensus that matters is our elected officials and the administrative bodies they create.

They haven't said it's torture, so it's not torture. It's that simple. This pestering of Gen. Hayden is mere posturing, typical talk-show hokum.

I prefer Gen. Hayden's approach--forget the label and decide based on what you're actually talking about. Is the method appropriate under the current conditions? He answered "no", as I'd like to think I would have.

I've written about Nir Rosen before over at Iraqi Bloggers Central, and I thought that you'd enjoy reading what happened when he and As'ad AbuKhalil (Angry Arab) argued about his reporting from Baghdad:

The Defenestration of Comrade Nir Rosen.--

Nir and I exchanged several e-mails, verifying some of its claims.


Certainly you're aware that the US prosecuted Japanese soldiers after WWII for waterboarding US prisoners.

What's sauce for the goose . . .
Nice Posting
Randinho, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander's grandchildren?

You're being deliberately disingenuous. If waterboarding committed against US troops forty years before the Convention Against Torture was signed by President Reagan, why should it be acceptable twenty years after the CAT was signed by Reagan and and fourteen years after the enabling legislation aka the Torture Statute, aka the law was signed into law?

Waterboarding is torture, period.
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