American Water Torture
Michael Mukasey on the right won't say that the practice on the left is a form of torture.
Back when I was a kid, I used to wince whenever other kids would mention “Chinese Water Torturee”. According to the Wikipedia, the Chinese may never have engaged in the practice of randomly dripping a single drop of water onto a victim’s forehead until he went slowly insane. Calling it “Chinese” just made it seem that much more insidious. The name implied that Chinese cruelty knew no limits nor did their creativity when it came to forcing information out of others. The other implication was that Americans were far too civilized to do anything of the sort.
Let’s jump ahead forty plus years. America is actually debating whether or not “waterboarding”, a form of water torture that ups the physical danger level while not giving up any of the psychological terror, should be legal. At the end of World War 2, we labeled the practice a war crime when the Japanese did it. There have also been occasions when it was used to get confessions in our own penal system. American courts have consistently ruled that the practice is “torture” as well. In the meantime, the Bush administration hasn’t defended their practice as much as they’ve tried to keep it a “secret” option. Only those who have been “read into” the program are allegedly sufficiently qualified to evaluate the ethics of the practice.
I have to say that I’m disappointed. It strikes me that Americans should be proud of their war on freedom or is it our war in defense of freedom? That means the Bush administration should take the credit it’s due. The world needs to start referring to the practice of drowning people until they think they’re going to die as “American Water Torture”.
The practice isn't strictly American in orgin. Apparently it was used by the Spanish Inquisition, the Nazis, the Japanese Kempaitai during World War 2, the Khmer Rouge, and the Dutch East India Company. It would be a real coup, if America can have the honor of having the practice named for our much younger culture. In the meantime, the other cultures that have practiced it aren't especially anxious to take ownership of the tradition. That's lucky for us, I guess.
Maybe then, a generation from now, children all over the world will be playing soldiers and they can threaten one another with “American Water Torture”. They will say, “When Americans go to war, they’re as cruel as any other culture. They observe no limits.”
American children will then feel as good about the name “American Water Torture” as I did when the other kids used to refer to “Chinse Water Torture.”
Dick Cheney's view