Many redefine definitions, and readjust known words to fit one’s politics. It’s been done before, and is being done now. Definitions of marriage, movie ratings, euthanasia, adultery, and torture have all been changed and modified to fit what many say they should mean.
If one takes the word “torture”, the Thorndike-Barnhart dictionary defines the word as “the act of inflicting very severe pain; a very severe pain or suffering—agony”. That definition was published in 1979.
That definition includes eye gouging, electrical shock, cutting out of tongues, cutting off appendages, putting live bodies into shredders, etc., etc…are normally employed by your average terrorist. Now, many roll a number of other items into that definition called “enhanced interrogation methods”.
They include “walling” (people ‘pay’ to have rougher things done to them at Cedar Point Amusement Park), the “attention grasp”, the “facial slap”, “dietary manipulation”, “sleep deprivation”, a “stinging insect” (harmless caterpillar), and worst of all—“water boarding” (simulated drowning).
The CIA briefed top Democrats and Republicans (including Pelosi and Rockefeller) more than 30 times between 2002 and 2006, who “each got complete, benchmark briefings on the programs”. This source continued to speak on a condition of anonymity: “If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding.” Some Democrats have called for prosecutions of the Bush administration officials for allowing enhanced techniques to be used. One of the full interrogation memos is available at GOPUSA.
Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R) stated that any Democrats who raise concerns now are being disingenuous at best. It seems they signed off on such techniques in 2002, but now they’re raising doubts. Pelosi knew that water boarding was in the planning stages, but her source admitted she did not object. Pelosi’s reply: Yes, the Bush Office of Legal Counsel said the techniques “could be used”, she explained, “but not that they would.”
Porter Goss who became the CIA Director, specifically wrote in the Washington Post, he, the Senate Intelligence Committee members, and Pelosi herself, were comprehensively briefed, “understood what the CIA was doing,” and “gave the CIA our bipartisan support” [http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/dsaunders/2009/ds_0430.shtml]. Bottom line: if the definition of torture is to be changed, you add another dictionary entry. You don’t just add on to a previous definition.
In actuality, a Democrat Congress refused to ban water boarding twice in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The CIA has a pointed memo that water boarding could only be used under very strict limitations: 1) only if the CIA has credible evidence that a terrorist attack is imminent, and knowing this information can prevent, disrupt, or delay this attack, and 2) other…methods have failed to illicit this information within the perceived time limit for preventing this attack.
Kalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) was one of only three terrorists water boarded in 2003 by the CIA. No more have been done. Before they were water boarded, Abu Zubaydah and KSM had “expressed their belief the general US population was ‘weak’ and lacked resilience and would be unable to ‘do what is necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.” Before water boarding, KSM simply said, “Soon you will know.”
CNS News: CIA Confirms That Enhanced Interrogations Foiled L.A. …As a result of those techniques, it was learned that KSM (mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks) revealed his plot of the Second Wave. That involved the Garuba Cell, containing a 17-member Jemaah Islamiyah cell tasked with crashing a hijacked airliner into a building in Los Angeles. If, or when, this would’ve happened, how many hundreds or thousands of Americans would have died in this attack? Per a CBS/New York Times poll [4/29/09], 62% of Americans opposed the idea of conducting hearings of the Bush Administration.
Fortunately, the information was obtained, the Second Wave never happened, and Americans’ lives were saved all because of water boarding three terrorists. None of the terrorists were injured, and all three are still walking around unhurt. Even though water boarding was exceedingly rare in interrogations of al-Qaeda terrorists, certain members of our armed services go through Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training (SERE) per their own intentions.
One who has watched certain sci-fi epics realizes that there are a number of other methods that can be used to obtain desired information without harm. Certain drugs are used today with the desired result. A mind wipe, or alternative reality could also be used in the near future. These techniques are coming, but it would be difficult to define them as torture.
One probably figures his family’s life is worth someone being water boarded to get the necessary information to continue their life. It would be difficult to answer them in their afterlife as to why you didn’t believe water boarding was worth saving their life.
Kevin Roeten can be reached at email@example.com