Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2019

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Waterboarding is torture, by law

In response to Mr. David Barton’s Thursday letter to the editor headlined “Waterboarding does not qualify as torture”:

I respectfully disagree, and there is ample legal and historical precedent to label it as such. In the 1980s the Reagan Justice Department successfully prosecuted a Texas sheriff, James Parker, and his deputies for using this “technique” on prisoners. Then, there’s the case of the post-World War II successful prosecution of a Japanese Army officer at the Tokyo Tribunal and several more going back to our Civil War.

Mr. Barton suggests that waterboarding isn’t torture because U.S. military servicemen are subjected to similar “techniques” during training. The difference is, the airmen know what is happening, and they also know they won’t die at the hands of their fellow airmen. Can the same be said for prisoners who were subjected, some more than 100 times, to a similar technique?

I support a full investigation to, once and for all, discover the truth. Let’s have all the players — political, military and intelligence — testify in public to what really happened. No hiding behind closed doors with immunity from prosecution. Let the public learn about the meetings between the CIA and members of Congress — who attended and when.

Only then will we know what took place, who authorized action and whether there were actual, verifiable results obtained from use of these methods.

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