Richard D. Coe: Yes to Decency, No to Torture



The responses to the release of the CIA report on torture are troubling in a number of aspects.
One, there is a lack of historical awareness. Waterboarding and other forms of simulated drowning have long been considered torture by most of the world, including the United States. At the war crimes trials after World War II, the United States prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners of war, and U.S. soldiers who used the technique in the Vietnam War and the Spanish-American War were court-martialed.
Two, defenders of the technique have argued that the ends justify the means, in that this form of torture is justified if it produces useful national security information.
In general, virtually all experts on interrogation consider it highly unlikely that torture will produce any useful information, and any such information that is acquired could have been gained without resorting to torture. In fact, information gained from torture is likely to be misleading or an outright lie, as victims will say anything to stop the torture.

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