“Suppose a man has planted a bomb in New York City, and it will explode in twenty-four hours unless the police are able to find it. Should it be legal for the police to use torture to extract information from the suspected bomber?”
“United States military and counterterrorism officials have never forgotten where that detour into darkness led — unreliable intelligence, demoralized interrogators, terrorists who still cannot be tried in a court of law because they were tortured and a stench that still clings to America’s counterterrorism reputation these many years later.”
“Waterboarding is sometimes described as giving victims the sensation of drowning. Those who have been subjected to the technique say it’s no facsimile. Six years ago, the late Christopher Hitchens voluntarily subjected himself to waterboarding so that he might report what it’s like. “You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning”, hewrote, “or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure”. Mr Hitchens lasted only seconds before he ended the session: “Unable to determine whether I was breathing in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with mere water, I triggered the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and stifling layers pulled off me”, he wrote. “Believe me, it’s torture”.”
Former Minnesota Governor, professional wrestler, and navy seal chimes in on the issues of waterboarding and torture.
“After a seven-year legal battle, the diary of a prisoner held at Guantánamo Bay has just been published and has become a surprise best-seller. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s diary details his experience with rendition, torture and being imprisoned without charge. Slahi has been held at the prison for more than 12 years. He was ordered released in 2010 but is still being held.”
After the September 11th attacks and for much of the war on terror, the CIA widely used waterboarding as a form of “enhanced interrogation” to get information from suspected terrorists. Waterboarding is widely considered a form of torture and raised a lot of ethical and moral concerns about how we were conducting ourselves in this war on terror. Questions that were raised: Is waterboarding torture? If so, is torture ever justified?
For a basic description of the technique take a look at the wikipedia page.
In 2008, Vanity Fair writer, Christopher Hitchens, volunteered to be waterboarded because he did not believe the technique constituted torture. Below that is the article he wrote about his experience and below is a video of his experience that changed his mind on the technique.
“Is torture ever justified? What if innocent lives are at stake? This excerpt from the BBC documentary “Justice: A Citizen’s Guide to the 21st Century” examines the debate between Kantians and utilitarians on human dignity.”
An ongoing discussion board about the scenario:
An interesting interview about the morality of using torture as a tactic. What’s great about this is that it’s not just an essay but an interview with Moral Philosophy professor, Jeff McMahan.
The US uses pain and force against terror prisoners, and argues it is all perfectly legal. Mark Tran explains