Don’t know much about history: Waterboarding is torture

1902–US soldiers water-boarding a Philippino during the 1898 insurrection. Captain Edwin F Glenn was court-martialed for supervising it, suspended from the service for 30 days and forced to pay a fine. From Wikipedia Commons.

My ire is piqued today by this report out of the Washington Post. In 2005, a woman working in a senior capacity for CIA Clandestine Operations took it upon herself to sign off on the destruction of videotape the agency had made of what critics have described as ‘torture’. It almost certainly includes waterboarding. That woman has not been fired or disciplined or even identified. But she is up to be PROMOTED to head Clandestine Operations–per the PostThe service is the most storied part of the CIA. It sends spies overseas and carries out covert operations including running the agency’s ongoing drone campaign.

We don’t know what was on the video. There are people who have seen some of the many videos not fit for the general public, but they can’t talk and they can’t leak. Seymour Hersh of My Lai fame, broke the story that there were videos of children being sodomized at Abu Ghraib. These have not ever been released. And based on the above, those videos may have been destroyed.

I bring up waterboarding because Mssrs Cheney, Bush and their friends continue to defend it as a valid tactic that does not constitute torture. But anybody who pokes at our history knows better–we executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners in WWII. We also court-martialed an American soldier in Vietnam for waterboarding an NVA prisoner in 1968. And while waterboarding was occasionally used against criminal suspects in the US, its use faded in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

But you don’t need to go all the way back to the 1960’s to know that the US government considered waterboarding torture prior to W. In 1983, that crazy communist/socialist Ronald Reagan had his Bolshevik-inspired Justice Department head Edwin Meese prosecute a Texas Sheriff and some deputies for waterboarding a suspect.  The sheriff did ten years. Interestingly, when Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury wrote the legal opinion that Waterboarding was not torture (thus letting W proceed with using it against detainees), they somehow managed to not cite the Texas case or the Vietnam waterboarding court martial. Around these parts, that’s sometimes referred to as legal malpractice.

And now we’re about to take the person in Central Intelligence most responsible for wiping out evidence of these crimes and PROMOTE HER.

So in our Orwellian world, Waterboarding is NOT torture. And helping to cover up Waterboarding and other alleged torture activities helps one’s resume.

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