Waterboarding is torture, says Harry Reid

November 14, 2007 | Filed Under government, News, scandals, War 

“Any human being would admit anything under those circumstances.”

Harry Reid’s suggests that a person on the verge of death will admit to anything, even when it isn’t true.

This argument is used to support arguments against coercion and duress by law enforcement officials during their investigations.  The argument counter to Reid’s assertion, of course is the Jack Bauer scenario.  If a terrorist has information that would lead to saving the lives of thousands of people, then would “torture” be acceptable?  I’m as liberal as the next guy, and I’d have to say that under a life or death situation, torture does and will happen.  We should allow the law to play this out, instead of accepting ‘torture’ as a tactic, deny it under the Constitution as it previously has.

IF the Jack Bauer scenario actually happens, then the agent will likely make a moral judgment, thus, providing a defense in a court of law.  What this does is makes sure that we preserve the integrity of our constitution, and continue supporting our “innocent, until proven guilty” system of jurisprudence.  To remove torture from the ‘debate’ and insist that it is criminal, as it should be, would remove the heinous activity of torturing individuals and retrieving information under duress from among a laundry list of reasons for foreigners to hate the United States.  This would go a long ways in restoring our reputation and significance in the world as a major political and international player.

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Reid makes a very important point, historically, the United States has executed and jailed people for committing the crime of water boarding.  During the Nuremberg trials, the use of torture was an issue that was not escaped by propaganda and clever political rhetoric.  If President Bush were ‘on the other side’ of the Nuremberg debate, he would have surely been hanged for his sponsoring of such illegal activity (if it is proved that he is indeed guilty of promoting torture and terrorism to achieve political ends).

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