FBI Interrogator: Torture Doesn't Help

I just received a YouTube link from a friend who read my article on waterboarding.

In the video below, former FBI special agent Jack Cloonan, who interrogated al Qaeda terrorists during the 90s, explains torture not only doesn't produce the results intended, but could worsen our terrorist threat.

(The other part of the video, describing actual torture techniques used, is on the Foreign Policy magazine website.)

Apparently, President Bush didn't get the memo. On Saturday, our esteemed leader vetoed a bill that would have forbid the CIA from using interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

During his weekly radio address, Bush said, "Limiting the CIA's interrogation methods to those in the Army Field Manual would be dangerous because the manual is publicly available and easily accessible on the Internet."

I got news for ya, buddy — waterboarding isn't exactly secret anymore.

In fact, forms of it have been used for decades, perhaps centuries. On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had a great piece on the word origins of waterboarding, from its use by American soldiers in the Spanish-American War — called "water cure" — to U.S. accounts of North Korean interrogators using "water treatment."

But whatever the method is called, it's still torture. And until we start talking about interrogation on those terms, we'll just be treading water.

(Image above is from a 1902 Desert Evening News article via The Ardvaark on Flikr)

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