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What is Waterboarding?

In waterboarding, a wet cloth is placed over a detainee's face, which makes it difficult to breath, provoking a fear of asphyxiation.
In 2002, commanders at Guantanamo Bay were denied permission to use waterboarding on detainees.
In one version of waterboarding, plastic wrap is substituted for the wet cloth.
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Waterboarding is a form of torture that involves the use of water to coerce a prisoner or detainee into a confession. The victim is tied to an inclined board that positions the head lower than the feet. A piece of cloth is then secured over the victim’s face. Water is poured over the cloth, and the victim begins to experience difficulty breathing. Waterboarding proves particularly effective in that fear of asphyxiation often leads the victim to panic and beg for the torture to cease. Routine interrogations that normally may take days produce results in minutes when waterboarding is used.

There are variations on waterboarding methods. Sometimes, plastic wrap is used. Another method involves tipping the board back and submerging the person’s head under the water. No matter what the method, waterboarding has both a physical and psychological component. Once the person begins to experience difficulty breathing and the gag reflex kicks in, the individual truly believes that he or she is going to die. Then, the captors will “rescue” the victim, pulling off the cloth or raising the head out of the water. The victim believes that death is imminent and that intense fear breaks down his or her resistance.

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Ironically, actual drowning during waterboarding torture is rare due to the fact that the position of the lungs in relation to the head prevents enough water from filling the lungs. But waterboarding can cause serious injury. A victim can suffer brain damage due to lack of oxygen and there can be damage to the lungs. The psychological after-effects can be even more devastating.

Waterboarding dates back to the Italian Inquisition in the 1500s, and has been used ever since. In the U.S., waterboarding has been considered illegal since the Spanish-American War when a U.S. Army major was found guilty of using waterboarding to torture a Philippine insurgent. The major was sentenced to ten years as punishment.

During the Vietnam War, waterboarding was used on North Vietnamese prisoners, and in one case, a soldier was court-martialed and discharged from the U.S. Army after photographs of him applying the torture appeared in the Washington Post.

In May 2004, the New York Times reported that waterboarding was used in the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. In fact, there are reports that Mohammed, who is considered to be one of the key planners of the attacks of 9/11, was able to endure two and a half minutes of waterboarding before breaking down. This is considered to be a record in that most victims don’t last for a minute. In fact, CIA agents, who are required to undergo waterboarding as part of their training, normally cannot endure more than 40 seconds of the torture.

The U.S. Government does not officially condone waterboarding as an interrogation method, however. In 2002, commanders at Guantanamo requested permission to use waterboarding on detainees. Permission was denied.

In an October 2006 interview with the conservative journal Human Events, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) addressed the issue of waterboarding as a means by which to gather information. He responded to a question regarding a statement by ABC’s Brian Ross that waterboarding was used in the interrogation of Mohammed. Roberts responded, “That is one of the techniques that will not be used any more.”

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Lahunken
Post 56

Waterboarding is far more than just causing discomfort. The Clockwork Orange treatment is given by waterboarding, which is a century of the body switching backward and forward in time, suffering everyone's torments, one victim at a time. It was referred to in the Greek New Testament as the "aioniu amartematos", aeon of failure, translated in the English of the King James Bible as "eternal damnation."

It is obvious that today the Clockwork Orange treatment is given by waterboarding. In Time magazine it was written that waterboarding floods the nasopharynx with water. The main trunk of the vagus nerve emerges from the brain in the nasopharynx and descends into the body, not through the spine. That will give you some other ideas of what else causes hallucinatory vagal stimulations.

In Gitmo, the televisions in the cells are used to present horrible scenes of torment so that the victims of waterboarding experience all that torment by the body switching backward and forward in time, into every victim seen.

I was given the Clockwork Orange treatment by LSD, in the sixties, for having written about vagal stimulation (supreme grand secret of the "lodge") in a high school term paper, four years after a homeless banished lodge member told my buddy and

me. I was caught a while after graduation. Thus, it seems that the "aeon of failure" is this psychedelic experience.

anon199007
Post 54

The job of the military and government is to protect the American people, and by any means possible. Waterboarding is one of the many methods used to interrogate terrorists to gather information.

Foreign terrorists can kill many thousands of people, but you feel sorry for them when they have the "sensation", not the real thing, of drowning and suffocation? We Americans, at least the ones against interrogative torture methods, need to understand that we do it for a very good reason.

anon126226
Post 52

Waterbording is just a only one type of torture that you hear about because it has been mentioned in the media. There are many many other types of torture that the u.s army and other counties use to get meaningful information from their enemies.

I'm not saying it's okay or not okay. Tortures are happening all around the world, but what's more scary is the wrong people getting tortured.

No one can ever justify the action because you can argue the matter as long as you want. there is not a simple answer for this topic.

anon125642
Post 51

Waterboarding-- is that really a matter to drag? Honestly i feel very sad at some thoughtless comments. I am an African but i see Bush's actions as very mild compared to the actions of a confirmed terrorist.

God help any terrorist that comes my way. Imagine a man waking up to go in search for his daily bread and that of his family only for his life to be terminated by one good for nothing, jobless individual who has no value for his life and has sold his soul to the devil and thinks that it is right for one to take his life and that of others when the Almighty who is the giver of life has not demanded for it.

Honestly what is beyond waterboarding is what i will offer such a person beyond what he can imagine. Imagine if they get away with their evil plans, how many families would be thrown into mourning.

To hell with the Geneva Convention, they better sit and amend that. As for the Americans spare no terrorist, give it to them hot, and as for places like Yemen i don't mind razing the town down cos they don't even deserve to live. This is my candid opinion for real.

anon125531
Post 50

Torture. Yes, chopping people's fingers off, starving them, burning them, doing permanent damage to their body is torture. Pouring water on them, not torture. Some times in tough situations you have to use hard tactics. I am sure our enemies are not as kind to our soldiers when captured.

anon125420
Post 49

Last time i checked, weatherboarding is harmless. It gives the prisoner the sensations of drowning -- not actually drowning! And there is always an MD there to make sure the prisoner is not ever in danger! it's just a tool to use to make the person feel like they are going to die.

So would i want it done to me? no way! just like i wouldn't want to go to jail! and I'm not one who organized 911 or other terrorism attacks!

anon66800
Post 48

I see no one getting the point here. The point is not what the results are. The point is that it is wrong to do an evil act in order to try to obtain good. Evil is evil and it makes us indistinguishable from the enemy. Waterboarding is obviously torture under the Geneva Convention. Take it to its logical conclusion. Think of something even more evil than waterboarding. Drawing and Quartering perhaps. Iron Maiden. Flaying alive. Suppose our government could get information to save a million people by using those methods? Would the desired results make it right? The answer is No. The end does not justify the means. Why is no one saying this?

anon45216
Post 47

anon31947, thank you for your voice of reason. This conversation is not about the legality of torture, it is about the category that waterboarding falls into. As the conversation so quickly turned to torture, I think we have our answer.

Russ622
Post 46

If the information we get from waterboarding is not reliable, then why won't the president let us know the info we got using this method? What does he have to lose? The military used waterboarding while training to show what our elite might face. It was discontinued because I think they found out that it was too effective and therefore not an effective training tool.

anon33159
Post 45

Reading all this i feel that us americans have been indoctrinated to hating the whole world, torture by any country is wrong but it happens, feel free to go ahead and use waterboarding to get information and the iraqi's can continue beheading soldiers that they catch.

Ever heard the phrase "what goes around comes around" you treat people with disrespect and you will be treated with disrespect. Maybe we should take a page out of english history...during WW2 no german soldiers were subjected to gruesome torture, they were driven around the unbombed parts of london and told their war effort was ineffective, the soldier was then sent back home.

One more point the reason the government wants us all to think everyone is a murderer, rapist, abductor is so that we do not get together and "talk" when we start talking to each other we have a voice, governments don't like us to have a voice...

anon31987
Post 44

Water boarding is considered to be torture, and by definition "making one believe and fear they are going to die". How is that any different from any random criminal with a gun to someone's head, an extremist with a knife to someone's throat, or a disturbed person walking into a school with loaded semi-automatic weapons? They all evoke fear and the fear of loss of life. It's very unfortunate that select people in this world must use barbaric practices and only know that as a way of life. But then when it is used against them everyone starts to complain.

I strongly agree that torture, is most cases, is not needed, but I also believe that you can not greet an enemy with flowers when they are holding weapons. Especially when their sole reason, in their mind, on this earth is to destroy as many Americans as possible.

Peace, although great in theory, will never happen. Not in the middle east, not in Iraq, and not in Afghanistan. People have been fighting forever and it will never end until one is gone for good.

anon31974
Post 43

I say have Jack Bauer torture the people. He gets results!

anon31947
Post 42

Wow, so many of you have *completely missed the point.*

Don't you guys now that torturing is *illegal*? Have you heard of the Geneva convention? Do you not know about how America put Japanese soldiers to trial for waterboarding?

"If national security is at risk then take whatever means necessary to protect it..."

Then we need to pay the Japanese reparations for putting their soldiers to trial. And we need to change the laws of the Geneva convention.

anon31906
Post 41

i think waterboarding is perfectly fine. nobody is being killed during this basic method of interrogation. remember people, these men tried to kill our fellow americans. if you disagree then maybe your just anti-american and should think about getting out of this great country.

anon31246
Post 40

During WWII, U.S. soldiers who took German soldiers prisoner, never tortured them. They didn't have to. Instead, they gave them an ultimatum. "Give us information that will help us, or we'll shoot you dead." Maybe we should just start doing that with the terrorists.

anon30715
Post 39

Are you kidding? Have you ever seen any video of them beheading a prisoner? We are supposed to be offended by waterboarding and taking a couple of nude pics of them in dog collars? How many thousands of innocent people (including women and children) died on 9/11 at the hands of these 'extremists'? I think we should be a little more 'extreme' with extremists. We are too tame.

knittingpro
Post 38

but that's not the POINT. the point is that waterboarding - or any kind of torture - hasn't actually let to valuable information! people are just saying anything to make it stop.

anon30499
Post 37

I really don't care what is done to these terrorists if it means preventing another tragedy like 9/11. I think it's pathetic that the same people who were so supportive of fighting terrorism after 9/11 are now acting as if waterboarding is worse than anything they can think of. Come on people! These are killers, murderers, selfish cowards who won't think twice about causing terror!

knittingpro
Post 36

According to *some* military experts, waterboarding is effective 99% of the time. Others say it's not effective at all.

anon27828
Post 35

would you use waterboarding on your child you love so much?

ronl86
Post 34

According to military experts, waterboarding is 99% effective. If a terrorist had information on the whereabouts of YOUR kidnapped child, would you hesitate to waterboard? You're damn right you would.

anon24819
Post 33

when dealing with such dangerous terrorists I think that waterboarding is acceptable. When you need information that can save American lives we must get it by any means possible. America cannot be weak when dealing with terrorist.

anon24673
Post 32

How anyone could even begin to compare the suffering, torture and death of Americans (or any other hundreds of humans for that matter) to the *temporary * torture of one who causes that suffering and death is far beyond me!

knittingpro
Post 31

I think the president was wrong to allow waterboarding. We were against it when the Japanese did it in WWII; how can we (Americans) just switch and decide it's ok when we want to try? At least both presidential candidates can agree on this!

knittingpro
Post 29

Two questions:

1. No one has explained why people being tortured are guaranteed to tell the truth. Why they wouldn't just say ANYTHING to make the torture stop? Which many psychologists agree would hapen.

2. How are we saying waterboarding is OK when we were 100% against it when the Japanese did it to our troops in World War II?

And yes, I agree that the people claiming to follow Jesus (and I am one of them) should look at what Jesus' methods were.

anon9547
Post 28

If no one knew about it, I'd go for it. But right now there is a public debate which the whole world sees. haha. Of course, the wisest thing to do is vote it down..make it illegal.

Now should the congress legalize it, the rest of the world will use it on our guys!!! This would make our guys less safe, and our own secrets less secure.

Therefore, our laws can never reflect a legalization of torture although, it must be used when necessary, covertly and illegally.

Ban war and guns, first. Enforce this law and then worry about enforcing no-torture laws. :)

anon8528
Post 23

The Iraq war was the result of 911. Bush and Cheney figured the American people were thirsty for revenge and it fit right in with his desire to "get" Saddam. It was going to be "a piece of cake"! Only it wasn't. This stupid man (Bush) can't even pronounce nuclear. Or he's too stubborn to acknowledge the truth. That terrorists are out to get us is pure paranoia. Bush and his crowd are using this paranoia to further their unjust causes. Of course warerboarding is offensive to right thinking Americans. It's the let's get them before they get us crowd that believe that having our youth slaughtered is OK as long as it is not in America.

tabl333
Post 22

Come on people. First, nobody wants to think about the tactics that are used to get information. We only know about a few. Do you think this is the worst that's done? Are we the only country that interrogates prisoners? Ask Daniel Pearl's family. I agree with Lakota, let's just ask Pretty Please and they will spill their guts. Ain't gonna happen. We do these things because we are trying to save many other lives, yours, mine, our children, heck any one of us can get caught in the crossfire and then once you have first hand knowledge I bet your tune will change. I also love it when people conveniently use religion. What would Jesus do? I tell you what he might do, he would try to educate the terrorist on the right path. If he chooses the "dark side" then he has to suffer the consequences, however rough they might be. That's just payback, Karma, whatever you want to call it.

anon8481
Post 21

Torture is a necessary evil. There are no rules for war when you get down to it, how ludicrous. You say no torture, no war, why don't you say no divorce, no rapes, no stealing, no, no, no, ......Perhaps if you lived in a society where you had no rights you would feel differently.

anon8475
Post 20

Morals have no place in WAR. When your enemy is not bound by rules and directives on what they can or cannot do to us, then we are unarmed. If we limit the ability to win by any means necessary, then we are set up for failure. When you are in a struggle for your life, you do not hesitate to do all that you can do to survive.

anon8441
Post 19

Torture is not fair, and we must find out other methods, no more torture, no more war

tml
Post 18

If national security is at risk then take whatever means necessary to protect it. Otherwise, people like my uncle who was a WWII POW at Chikko for 4 years fought and died for nothing. What about the Hanoi Hilton, ask those survivors what they endured. Oh yeah, Vietnam wasn't technically a war either. I live in the real world and torture has gone on since the beginning of time. It won't stop now so take off the rose colored glasses. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if things like this didn't happen! Our Military has fought and died for the freedom we have. Until you've walked in their shoes don't criticize their tactics.

JustWilliam
Post 16

Torture – Depends on whose position you take, is it correct?

From my view it is wrong, you cannot hold the moral high ground if your country tortures people. If I was for torture then during the 70’s 80’s and 90’s I believe that every American who gave a dollar to the “Irish Cause” should be tortured to see if they have information about Irish terrorists who Americans were happy to fund. If we condone torture to find out information about future terrorist events then a whole lot of Americans should have been waterboarded, just in case they knew anything to save lives in England and Northern Ireland. It is so strange that only after 9/11 did Americans stop supporting the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and soon enough peace was restored. One man's terrorist is another Man's Freedom fighter. torture is wrong.

robscott05
Post 15

This is in response to the anonymous poster who who boldly claimed that the war in Iraq isn't constitutionally a war; to the poster who also asked what Jesus might do (which is absurd, because this same poster is an agnostic).

Do you realize the importance of proof reading your posts prior to submitting them? You said some foolish things. I'll start with the war "not being a war". What does it matter? Are you also a supporter of the Clinton defense of defining the word "is"?? I'd bet so. First, the war in Iraq is a war (I'm obliged to help you out with that one). I have first hand knowledge of seeing rounds fired, and vehicles exploding. It's a war (and don't give me some ridiculous explanation of how congress never sanctioned it). Soldiers engaged in open conflict defending our people, or people of a suppressed nation is a solid definition of war.

And by the way, any idea why our country hasn't been attacked since September 11, 2001? I'll help you out with that....it's because our Soldiers are at war in Iraq taking the fight TO the insurgents, terrorists, and organizations that would have otherwise attacked our country again. The war in Iraq serves two purposes: 1) It's liberating a country that has been suppressed for 40 years by a tyrant leader and 2) It's keeping the fight on foreign soil. Homeland defense is moving in the right direction, but it certainly isn't the reason that our America hasn't been attacked for the past 6 years.

I won't even respond to your religious misquotes. God did, however, ordain capital punishment. Read the Bible, you might be the better for it.

Lakota
Post 14

Let me get this straight....you can shoot and kill a suspect or wound him to the point where he suffers a protracted, painful death. But pretending to drown them for 60 seconds is off limits. Just outstanding. Listen up clowns...If the torture of one person can save thousands of lives I'm for it all the way. What's the alternative to torture? Saying pretty please.

ianmac864
Post 13

Anonymous, which is worse? ...a well known terrorist who has only one priority in life, and that is being hell bent on killing me, my wife, my children, my mother and father, my friends, in a most gruesome and horrific fashion; my way of life, everything that I have come to love and trust, my country, my government, our soldiers and their families, ; OR A known terrorist gets some water up his nose for a few seconds and THINKS that he may just die....

What if one of those poor innocent souls that had to make a conscious and immediate decision to jump to their inevitable deaths from 1000 feet up at the World Trade Center Towers, because terrorists decided to fly jets into them with more innocent people aboard, could have possibly been one of your family members? My thinking is that you love them very much, so that makes me lean towards the water boarding...but you know what? That would mean that the terrorist would possibly suffer some fright, or "mental trauma." Why should the rights of a religious fanatic FAR outweigh the safety and security of your family members?

I think these comments smear and insult the memories of all the people who have given or lost their lives because of these fanatics.

In regards to the water boarding, you can't say "there is no debate on that subject," simply because you believe differently? Just because the Geneva Convention says that they deem it as torture, doesn't mean that they are correct. I know of no one, nor any group that is right 100% of the time.

One other thing, I find it unproductive to stand up against this, and yet offer no other plan, idea, option, notion, alternative, etc.

Let us move on...crime in this country, as well as how people treat and respect(or lack thereof) each other is NOT the same as it was in the 60's. I remember when I was a young child growing up in the early 60's, the children ran all around the neighborhood, unsupervised, with not a care or worry in the world. Nor did our parents worry, because people USED to be civilized, and looked out for one another. You didn't have to worry about a murderous sociopath or a child predator doing harm to you, your children, or your friends and neighbors.

As far as your statement about us "setting an example for the other countries," I believe that our 10's of gabillions of taxpayer dollars in aid, helping to rebuild countries, assisting in the education and well being of most of the countries on this earth, not to mention the millions of lives given by our families and loved ones to insure the freedom of much of this world, as well as your right to free speech, pretty much sums it up.

anon5962
Post 12

"If it's not so bad then why haven't any of the politicians who advocate it been willing to try it?"

Is this statement a joke? There have many forms of torture behind the scenes in every war that the U.S. has been involved in and who's to say that countless lives were not spared because of these interrogation methods. Are you suggesting that FDR, Truman and others should have gone through the same torture before authorizing it's use?

If one terrorist has to endure even extreme torture so that we don't have another 9/11 then by all means go ahead. I lost a very close loved one in the twin towers on 9/11 and those comments offend me.

"they learn anything from Jesus who died by capital punishment?"

Do you truly think that the son of the living God was murdered without letting it happen? Are you suggesting that he couldn't have stopped it any time? If you knew of Jesus' mission then you wouldn't suggest such a example of why we shouldn't allow capitol punishment. The Atonement of the Savior should not be used as support of such arguments. For the sake of our children, we should stop destroying the America that I love!

anon5840
Post 11

You can't compare World War II to the "war in Iraq" (which isn't an actual war because there was never a formal declaration and defies the constitution but that's another matter all together). Waterboarding is torture, period, there is no debate on that subject, and the Geneva Convention defines waterboarding or any act which makes the victim believe that he is going to die as torture. Those who support torture to get information from those who wish to harm us should think about what sort of example this is to the rest of the world, namely those groups that reject western culture, and what those groups would do to us if we were captured by their government. I believe that the Bush administration and the media have been successful in making America more afraid of everything than any society has ever been before. I mean we can't even pick up hitchhikers anymore because everyone's a rapist, murderer, terrorist or thief. But are people really that different from the people of the 60s where hitchhiking was commonplace? Or has the media made everyone more afraid of their neighbor now than ever before? Yes there are terrorists in the world, there will always be and always has been, but should Americans live in constant fear of them and should we torture people and hold them captive without fair trials out of constant fear? I say we need to think about what Jesus would do and take the higher moral ground. (I'm an agnostic but I find it really strange that the "religious right" seems to support torture much more than the less religious left. Not to mention that they believe in capital punishment... didn't they learn anything from Jesus who died by capital punishment? Is one death of a Jesus worth a billion deaths of Charles Mansons? I say no!)

Whamo9f
Post 10

It's not my story. It belongs to General Paul Tibbets and was told on C-Span. Watch for it for yourself and see if it seems credible. I'm sure that with his death at age 92 last week, they will be showing it again soon. I believe it because it was consistent with stories my father told me about his experiences in the Navy during WWII. BTW, I just found a document that shows my father crossed the International Date Line on July 28, 1945 which would have placed him about 800 miles east of Japan when Tibbets flew the Enola Gay over Hiroshima. I'm not condemning anyone from that time. But if you want to condemn Bush then you also have to condemn FDR, Truman, and all those from the “Greatest Generation” who won the Big One.

anon5087
Post 9

Whamo9f, your story sounds implausible. If the FBI had identified two German spies, wouldn't the try to get more information? They trailed the first to the second; why didn't they follow the second to try to find out what contacts he had? Was he a controller running several spies? Was he an intermediary they could have followed to the ringleader? Why not apprehend both and torture them for information? Summary execution makes no sense.

Whamo9f
Post 8

Why would they lie at all?

I saw an interview of Paul Tibbits on CSPAN recently. Now that he's dead, they will play it again. He told about an incident in the Manhattan Project when they found a spy in Chicago. The FBI told him they followed the spy to a park, where he met his German contact. They shot them both and dumped the bodies in an alley. That was under FDR - a democrat. I'm wishing Paul God-Speed. He saved my father’s life.

anon4840
Post 7

I'm just saying that your point makes no sense - why would they only lie if it's not so bad? Why wouldn't they lie if it was bad?

Whamo9f
Post 6

OK, OK! You can have it both ways! You are right and the President was wrong in the 1990s to authorize torture and extreme rendition. We wouldn't want to make any bad guys uncomfortable, would we?

anon4835
Post 5

If it's not so bad then why haven't any of the politicians who advocate it been willing to try it? Why did the US military stop using it in training?

"Either it's terrible and they tell the truth, or it's not so bad and they will lie. You can't have it both ways."

That is totally illogical. Why would they only lie if it's not so bad? Your statement that you can't have it both ways is not backed up in fact. Why wouldn't they lie about something that is terrible? This makes no sense.

Whamo9f
Post 4

Not mild, compared to what? Beheading? Hanging from a bridge? The 'tell you anything' claim is a myth. Why would they tell the truth? If they want it to stop and not happen again they will give up information that will help us. Either it's terrible and they tell the truth, or it's not so bad and they will lie. You can't have it both ways.

anon4832
Post 3

Waterboarding is NOT mild - the US military stopped using it in training because it was too extreme. People who have used it in history are the genocide in Cambodia, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Stalinist Soviet Union. We don't want to follow in their footsteps!!! Simulated drowning is NOT mild!!!

And as for getting information - sure, a terrorist will give information when they're being tortured, but why would they give the correct information? They'd say anything to make it stop! There's still no way to make them tell the truth.

Whamo9f
Post 2

Anon

NO! It's not clear! When you have a known terrorist, such as KSM, it is the duty of the government to get any information it can to prevent an attack on US citizens. Torture as a way to punish should not be allowed, but water boarding is mild by historical standards when trying to prevent an attack. By your standards Harry Truman and the recently departed Paul Tibbits would be criminals.

anon4790
Post 1

Why do the politicians keep arguing about if this is torture or not? Isn't it pretty clear?!?

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