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-The Torture Issue and ‘Waterboarding’ Specifically

by Dr. D ~ April 25th, 2009

The Issue of torture has been in the news lately with the release by President Obama of the so-called ‘torture memos’ supporting the use of aggressive interrogation techniques. Some of the stuff on the list I can honestly say I endured in college pledging for a fraternity. However, ‘waterboarding’ seems to be something else entirely.

Over the years, American pilots and Special Forces have undergone an advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) to prepare them in the event of capture by a ruthless enemy. The aggressive techniques, including ‘waterboarding’ have been used against our own armed forces as part of the training exercise.

How does it feel to be “waterboarded”? Christopher Hitchens found out for himself, submitting to a brutal waterboarding session. Here’s his analysis: “Believe Me, It’s Torture” The video of his waterboarding experience is below:

Remember one thing—say what you want about Christopher Hitchens—he is a gutsy guy! Remember he recently stared down and challenged some ‘neo-nazi’ Arab jerks in Lebanon. He is no wilting flower, so if you think you could do better why not try it out!

Response: I am ambivalent about our government using most of the techniques against terrorists in order to extract info. that would save lives. Most of the techniques really should not be classified as ‘torture’—but waterboarding is entirely different. Apparently only three terrorist leaders have been subjected to that ultimate technique and that under medical supervision.

The question is—should our government use waterboarding and other extreme techniques that might actually endanger the lives of the subject in order to obtain information?  In this case, the lives of thousands were apparently saved and several terrorist events were averted through the use of waterboarding against several terrorist leaders.

As a Christian I could never participate in torture or in this case waterboarding at least in theory. The fact that our government used the technique in our behalf is unsettling but I find myself divided over this specific issue.

Is it justifiable to use waterboarding to save thousands of lives? That is the reality of the situation—thousands would be probably be dead right now if it wasn’t used.

LA was one of the targets that was averted, so it could of been some of my friends and family–that brings it really close to home for me. Theologically and theoretically I am against the use of torture—I believe that it is morally reprehensible. However, most of the so-called ‘torture’ list is a joke—‘waterboarding’ is the only technique at issue for me.

If I was in charge of interrogating terrorist prisoners and knew that thousands of lives were on the line would I give permission to the use of ‘waterboarding’ under strict medical supervision? I would like to say no—but I have never been responsible for the safety of an entire nation—and theory flies out the window in the face of reality with thousands of lives at stake. I have to admit that I might of said yes and if that makes me a hypocrite than so be it!           *Top 

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