The Waterboarding Debate

John ArmstrongCurrent Affairs

A controversial interrograiton procedure, known as "waterboarding," is often in the news over the last year or two. Most people have no idea about what this term actually means or what happens when a person is waterboarded. P1ak364_water_20080130200037_2 I have several former-military friends who assure me that it is a horrible experience that makes you actually feel like you will die and in some cases it will cause death. Two articles appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal about waterboarding. They are interesting for entirely different reasons.

Three young men decided to try out waterboarding and then write about it. If you want to see how horrific this practice really is then read their account.

Democrats have made a great deal politically out of this practice in their reaction to the confirmation, and now the service, of Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Hcgk680_mukase_20070917194326 Mukasey will not respond the way these Democrats want him to respond to their inquiries but steadfastly insists that nothing illegal is being done in the war on terror. If Democrats can somehow link waterboarding to the Republicans then they have a "hot button" issue. The Wall Street Journal, in its Review & Outlook section, has an article on their opposition to Mukasey on this issue. It too is important to read.

Some readers will recall that it was Republican Senator John McCain, often parting with his own party on such issues, who stood very strongly against this practice when it was debated some months ago. I thought then, and still think now, that anyone who has undergone torture at the hands of the enemy in wartime ought to be listened to carefully in such debates. I still think the same after reading these two articles this morning. I hope reasonable people will look into this practice more carefully and understand it better than they do. I also hope that they will then stand against it, as they should, for ethical and moral reasons. This is not a partisan issue and should not become one in this election year. We must protect the nation against terrorism but there are some ways of doing it that are simply not right. This is clearly one of them.