If we thought it was a war crime during WWII, so what’s changed since then?

From the Wash Post:

Twenty-one years earlier, in 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for carrying out another form of waterboarding on a U.S. civilian. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

“Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) told his colleagues last Thursday during the debate on military commissions legislation. “We punished people with 15 years of hard labor when waterboarding was used against Americans in World War II,” he said.

And yet we excuse it away with platitudes like freedom and democracy. But these methods promote neither, and we actually begin to lose both when we employ them against our enemies.

Good thing we’re not doing it anymore…

Key senators say Congress has outlawed one of the most notorious detainee interrogation techniques — “waterboarding,” in which a prisoner feels near drowning.

Oh, but wait…

But the White House will not go that far, saying it would be wrong to tell terrorists which practices they might face.

Sounds like we’ve officially said we’re not going to do it, but behind the scenes we’re going to still maybe do it? Possibly?

Hmmm, mixed messages…not at all what I expect from this administration…

  • Maybe I’m not reading the right sources, but I haven’t seen much written about one factor in the torture debate. It isn’t the most effective means of extracting information. So I wrote about it myself, here. We’ve pissed away our reputantion for what? So we can get revenge? So we can feel like we’re really sticking it to the terrorists? I don’t get it.

  • Flyfish

    Wow I’m a victim of a war crime then. As a regular part of the USN’s SERE (Survival, evasion, resistance and escape.) training, students are waterboarded.


  • Eural

    I’ve often raised this point in debates with Bush supporters – if waterboarding was a crime against humanity 50 years ago and was used by our arch-enemies in WWII then why is acceptable for the POTUS to be pushing for its use today? They never have an answer. In their defense they are never aware of the post-WWII trials either. I think there’s a connection there somewhere…

  • Flyfish, you obviously don’t get it. Its only a war crime if you are a terrorist witholding information imperative to saving American lives. It explicitly states in the Geneva Conventions that waterboarding against Americans or Israeli Jews doesn’t constitute a war crime. (I think…)

  • Jim S

    Somehow, Flyfish, I think that you were monitored for your welfare much more closely than the detainees are being, based on some of what just came out about Guantanamo.