September 6, 2008
A man is restrained on a flat surface that is inclined so that his feet lie higher than is head.
His face is covered with a cloth and his head is tilted back.
Water is then poured down onto his face, aimed at the mouth.
He slowly begins to drown from the inside.

This is the typical process of one of the many U.S. Government “enhanced interrogation technique[s]” (CBS). It is designed so that “coughing draws water up and into the lungs” making it impossible for the victim to “exhale more air or cough out water,” causing the lungs to eventually collapse (waterboarding.org). This “mock of execution [causes] severe physical suffering [through] reflexive choking, gagging and the feeling of suffocation” (hrw.org). President Bush has recently vetoed a ban that would end the use waterboarding claiming that waterboarding is not torture even though his “own State Department has labeled waterboarding torture” (CBS: Cox, Larry). With the many legal/ratified definitions of torture out there, it's appalling that anyone could even begin to agree with Bush.

The UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining a confession.” The United Sates Code states that torture is an act “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” Similar definitions were made in the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture and the Roman Statue of the International Court. From the information above, one could only find that waterboarding is torture. In fact, officials in the past came to that very conclusion.

U.S. and Foreign soldiers have been punished for waterboarding their enemies. “A U.S. soldier was court-martialed during the Vietnam War [and was] convicted and discharged from the Army” (Northwest Florida Daily News). In another case involving waterboarding “an Army major was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor” (Northwest Florida Daily News). Our own Army condemned the actions of one of its soldiers during previous wars, how can they turn the other cheek during this war? “Japanese soldiers and officers who waterboarded American prisoners of war during World War II were convicted of torture” (Northwest Florida Daily News). How can the U.S. allow its military and the CIA to continue practicing what they've labeled a war crime when conducted by others like the Japanese, “the KGB, the Khmer Rouge, the Gestapo, the Vietcong and the Communist North Koreans” (The New American)?

Although I am not alone in the belief that waterboarding is torture, the House Democrats did not achieve the 2/3 majority vote required to overturn Bush's veto. It is absolutely heinous that anyone could allow such torment and hypocrisy to continue. Is it not enough that waterboarding falls under the very definition of torture to discourage its practice? Is the law really insignificant enough that the CIA has not been reprimanded for waterboarding even though it “obviously violated a 1994 law” (Taylor Jr., Stuart)? It’s simply ludicrous that Bush has been able to allow Americans to get away with committing crimes just because he claims to be fighting a war that will make the world safer.
Other arguments to support waterboarding include the idea that it could save lives and that it is an effective form of interrogation. This is saying that the end justifies the means and I don't see how anyone could possibly believe in that. The dropping of the A-bomb got the Japanese to surrender, so was its use justified? Like I mentioned before, enemies of the U.S. have used waterboarding to their advantage, were their actions justified? If the end really justifies the means then why were American soldiers punished for waterboarding in the past?

Waterboarding is an inhumane act of torture and its practice should not be continued by anyone. There are U.S. and international laws against torture and the United States should not have the power to defy them as they please. Waterboarding is torture regardless of the motives or results and the United States should not be free to create a double standard that only works to their benefit.


“Editorial: Torture gets a presidential blessing.” Northwest Florida Daily News. 27 Mar 2008: 1. EBSCOhost. The Harris Library Information Media Center. 8 May 2008.

Join the Discussion

This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Sierra B. said...
May 25, 2009 at 11:33 pm
I felt short of breath.
JennyDavis said...
May 25, 2009 at 11:02 pm
Good job, but just as constructive criticism it would be nice to have less definition/factual information and more or your own opinion/reasoning about why waterboarding is bad. I liked it, though!
isupport2u said...
Sept. 23, 2008 at 11:22 pm
the imagrey in the beginning is effectively haunting..really sets the stage for the topic of the article. Good work!
xXSirJonesXx said...
Sept. 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm
good job she goes to my skoo
hjyhjyhjyhhjyhjyhjyyjhjyhjyhjyhjyyjhjyhjy5 said...
Sept. 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm
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