Hanging People for Waterboarding

On Thursday, November 29th, 2007 in a campaign event in St. Petersburg John McCain commented on torture:

… following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding.

If the United States is in another conflict … and we have allowed that kind of torture to be inflicted upon people we hold captive, then there is nothing to prevent that enemy from also torturing American prisoners

PolitiFact.com verified that McCain was right on this:

McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as “water cure,” “water torture” and “waterboarding,” according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.

R. John Pritchard, a historian and lawyer who is a top scholar on the trials, said the Japanese felt the ends justified the means. “The rapid and effective collection of intelligence then, as now, was seen as vital to a successful struggle, and in addition, those who were engaged in torture often felt that whatever pain and anguish was suffered by the victims of torture was nothing less than the just deserts of the victims or people close to them,” he said.

In a recent journal essay, Judge Evan Wallach, a member of the U.S. Court of International Trade and an adjunct professor in the law of war, writes that the testimony from American soldiers about this form of torture was gruesome and convincing. A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps.

It is hard for conservatives to claim that waterboarding is not torture and not a crime when the United States executed others for doing this. I don’t think we should hang  Bush and Cheney. Life in prison for their war crimes would be sufficient.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    nomoreGOP says:

    “I don’t think we should hang  Bush and Cheney. Life in prison for their war crimes would be sufficient..”

    or.. in a twist of ironic fate.. our own CIA must use waterboarding on Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, John Yoo and Gonzales, among others, in order to obtain information that is “critical to national security.”

    All parties subsequently spill the beans.. Well almost all..  Rummy, who actually seemed to enjoy the simulation of drowning and was even said to have been moaning lightly and continually asked that his nipples be twisted..

    One can dream right? LOL

    But in all seriousness.. The hypocrisy of the conservative movement today is so disgustingly blatant, I am amazed that the Left hasn’t made more of a deal about it.. I guess they figure the Right is already doing an effective job of making themselves out-dated and basically obsolete when it comes to their way of thought as it pertains to a 2009 society.. Why lower themselves [left] if the outcome will be the same if they just stay out of it..

    The only question(s) now will be:
    1. Can this be spun by the right somehow?
    2. Will the left realize that prosecuting these people is THEIR MORAL AND CIVIL DUTY??  It is not solely to be viewed as a political issue that would somehow hurt the view of  ALL politicians and therefor we should keep “looking to the future.” I am so sick of the obstruction on both sides of our government. If the law was broken, there should be an investigation. If the investigation uncovers enough evidence, there should be an indictment… and so on..  And the left wonders why these people feel as if they are above the law.. Its BECAUSE THEY ARE.. When you acknowledge that people have broken the law, then you dont do anything about it, what do you think that group of people is going to think?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “The hypocrisy of the conservative movement today is so disgustingly blatant, I am amazed that the Left hasn’t made more of a deal about it.”

    We have many on the right outright saying they support torture. Why interfere? They are further destroying what little credibility they had left all on their own.

  3. 3
    Fritz says:

    Most Americans would support torture, but only with the proviso that they never have to hear about it.

  4. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Sadly, I agree with Fritz’s statement. I agree with nomoreGOP’s sentiments, but I don’t know if we can govern from sentiment and still govern right now.

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