“What is Torture?” Redux

At the beginning of January, I asked the question, “What is torture?” in response to Charlie Sykes’ assertion that waterboarding isn’t really torture, or that maybe it is, but he’d support it as long as it worked, and so when I came across this little nugget on YouTube, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Charlie Sykes.

Now if Mike Mukasey would feel that waterboarding were torture if it were done to him, I can’t help but wonder what Charlie Sykes thinks.

Personally, I believe waterboarding is torture, because I believe in the definition of torture provided by the Geneva Convention:

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

Now I know the United States hasn’t ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, so an argument could be made that our use of waterboarding isn’t anything bad, but what’s truly telling is the list of nations who along with ours have signed – but not yet ratified – the UN Convention Against Torture, including such bastions of civil rights as Cuba, Nigeria, Sudan, and Sierra Leone. We’re in good company right there…


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