The torture debate is still raging among some and I felt the need to address this debate in a less conventional way. Many have said that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, stress positions, and sleep deprivation, as used by the CIA, constitute torture. I couldn’t disagree more. While these techniques are beyond the standard line of questioning, they do not reach the threshold of torture. And if honestly pressed I think that holds true for even those that oppose these techniques.
I have a simple exercise to determine an individuals convictions regarding the assertion that these techniques qualify as torture. For everyone who thinks that waterboarding is torture I will agree to undergo waterboarding, sleep deprivation and stress positions if they agree to have their fingers smashed and their nails pulled out with pliers. According to their logic these actions all constitute torture therefore it should make no difference which one of us is subjected to the respective “torture techniques. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is by subjecting myself to enhanced techniques, if they will also back up their assertions with actions. If they refuse, it is clear that they believe that waterboarding does not rise to the same level as the other recognized methods of torture.
Other’s have made comments like “would you let your kids be waterboarded.” The simple answer is no. My child would be an American citizen and thus protected from such treatment by the constitution. They then respond with “so the lives of Americans are more valuable than people in other nations?” The answer is, of course, yes. The reason that the lives of my family members are of great value to me than the lives of strangers, is the same reason the lives of Americans are more valuable to me than the lives of people like Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. If the lives of those you know and love are not more valuable to you than the lives of people like Khaled Sheikh Mohammed then you have some serious soul searching to conduct.
Sean Hannity was recently pressed into agreeing to be waterboarded. Keith Olbermann has taken it upon himself to make this an issue. I would hope that Sean would take Olbermann up on his offer and further challenge him to my test. We’ll see just how strong Olbermann’s convictions are, that enhanced interrogations fall into the same class as torture, when he’s faced with he prospect of having to face real torture. Being opposed to enhanced interrogation, while misguided, is a legitimate position. But calling those techniques torture is, at best, intellectual dishonesty.