“CIA interrogators used the waterboarding technique on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted planner of the September 11 attacks, 183 times.”

April 20, 2009 at 9:28 am (By Amba)

Oh, really?  How about 2,974 times?


  1. Callimachus said,

    I know it’s torture. I know it’s not something that I want America or Americans to be doing (or hiring other people to do). And I know I should just stop right there, at risk of being flayed alive by the people who are aghast over this.

    But it still seems to me, as I read down the list of techniques, we need another word here, to separate this stuff, which is not always too far above a serious fraternity hazing, from real torture. The kind that happens to you routinely if you are in Kim Jong Il’s or Saddam Hussein’s hands.

    “If you do not talk, we will put a caterpillar on you! If you do not talk again, we will put another one!”

  2. Peter Hoh said,

    It is torture. Aside from the ethical issues, there is the issue of competence. Torture does not lead to good intel.

    Al qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood flourished under regimes that used torture in a failed effort to suppress them.

    I know many conservatives want to dismiss Andrew Sullivan on the issue of torture. They’ll have a harder time ignoring Rod Dreher and Mark Shea.

  3. Peter Hoh said,

    Here’s another good link on the question of efficacy:

  4. mileslascaux said,

    WHAT is torture? I read people talking about “waterboarding” and whenever they deign to describe it, the descriptions vary dramatically.

    If anyone is to make an informed decision about whether he considers this torture, he needs to know EXACTLY what was done to these two men. Not what was done in the Spanish Inquisition. Not what was done by the North Koreans in 1951.

    You might say torture does not ALWAYS lead to good intell. Apparently, in the case of Americans tortured by North Vietnam, for instance, it did lead to actionable information. At least that’s what John McCain’s progressive critics said.

    If you make the moral argument, you need not make the practical one. If you are principally interested in intell, then you’re on a different terrain entirely.

    I don’t give two fucks what any blogger has to say about it: good, bad. or indifferent.

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