The Torture Paradox
The US Veep claiming waterboarding prisoners is a "no-brainer" is pretty appalling, though I have noted more than a few media outlets claiming waterboarding is not too bad of a torture. This article by Heather Malick gives the viewpoint of someone who actually had this technique used against him, by the Japanese in WWII:
"He directed the full flow of the now-gushing pipe onto my nostrils and mouth.… Water poured down my windpipe and throat and filled my lungs and stomach. The torrent was unimaginably choking. This is the sensation of drowning, on dry land, on a hot dry afternoon. Your humanity bursts from within you as you gag and choke. I tried very hard to will unconsciousness but no relief came."We should not visit upon our enemies that which we would not accept as treatment for those of our own as prisoners. It doesn't matter if some of our enemies do that and worse - the reason we're better than our enemies, among other things, is that we do not torture.
The underlying paradox is this: if the treatment is so brutally effective, how can it also be harmless?