Yesterday morning, I dared liberals to apologize and defend FDR's orders of forcefully removing Japanese-American citizens from their homes and into concentration camps of our own making during WWII. The game: to expose ideological commitment that our torture apologists commit when they are busy defending the Bush administrations authorizing of waterboarding and other coercive methods by the people they elected into office.
But a deeper analogy can be made in the reasoning that our torture apologists and with WWII that they've frequently made in the past as justification for the war in Iraq.
We need to clear up one right wing talking point first. Waterboarding only "simulates" drowning. No.
"Sometimes, though, the questions we face about detainees and interrogation get more specific. One such set of questions relates to "waterboarding."
That term is used to describe several interrogation techniques. The victim may be immersed in water, have water forced into the nose and mouth, or have water poured onto material placed over the face so that the liquid is inhaled or swallowed. The media usually characterize the practice as "simulated drowning." That's incorrect. To be effective, waterboarding is usually real drowning that simulates death. That is, the victim experiences the sensations of drowning: struggle, panic, breath-holding, swallowing, vomiting, taking water into the lungs and, eventually, the same feeling of not being able to breathe that one experiences after being punched in the gut. The main difference is that the drowning process is halted."
That's Evan Wallach, a former Nevada National Guard JAG who used to lecture soldiers of the 72nd Military Police and who were dispatched to Abu Ghraib prison. (Coincidentally, today is the 5 year anniversary when the New Yorker first published pictures and accounts of torture at Abu Ghraib prison.)
So it's clear. When you waterboard, you drown your victim.
"After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: "I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure." He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning," he replied, "just gasping between life and death."
What happened to those Japanese soldiers?