Ronald Reagan, an idol to many conservatives, was opposed to torture. In fact, here’s what he said in his signing statement ratifying the UN Convention on Torture from 1984 (emphasis mine):
“The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.”
That’s a pretty unambiguous statement.
Now I know many conservatives will say waterboarding isn’t torture, so let’s take a look at what waterboarding is and how the United Nations Convention Against Torture defines torture. Waterboarding is a technique that induces panic and suffering by forcing a person to inhale water into the sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and trachea. Now here’s the definition of torture, as defined by the UN Convention Against Torture (emphasis mine):
The term “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
So let’s recap…waterboarding is a technique that induces panic and suffering in recipients, and the UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as any act in which pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is inflicted on a person. It seems pretty unambiguous to me that waterboarding is torture, and as such is illegal.
H/T to Victor Ponelis of Lake Country Liberal.