Waterboarding

When I saw the news headlines below, I was amazed and I asked myself ‘why would Trump not allow waterboarding?’ thinking about ‘waterboarding-the sport or more commonly called wake boarding’ and forgetting that it has another, serious meaning.

Will Trump allow waterboarding? Not on McCain’s watch.

It was only after reading a few lines of the news that I realized my mistake.  What an innocent name to attribute to a torture to elicit information from suspects or even innocent people. [For those not familiar with the meaning of waterboarding, it is ‘an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee’s mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning.” (Merriem Webster)].

Children who may not be familiar with the meaning may think that waterboarding is just like any sports which has the word board attached to it such as skateboarding, wake boarding, kneeboarding, paddleboarding, bodyboarding and flyboarding.

The name actually is not ancient and was only recently created.  Webster’s Dictionary first included the term in 2009 although it was first used in 2004.

Curious to know who created the word, I dived into wikipedia and found the lame answer:

“Techniques using forcible drowning to extract information had hitherto been referred to as “water torture“, “water treatment”, “water cure” or simply “torture”.

Professor Darius Rejali of Reed College, author of Torture and Democracy (2007), speculates that the term waterboarding probably has its origin in the need for a euphemism.

“There is a special vocabulary for torture. When people use tortures that are old, they rename them and alter them a wee bit. They invent slightly new words to mask the similarities. This creates an inside club, especially important in work where secrecy matters. Waterboarding is clearly a jailhouse joke. It refers to surfboarding”– a word found as early as 1929– “they are attaching somebody to a board and helping them surf. Torturers create names that are funny to them.”

Yeah! ‘Euphemism’ it is and very ‘funny’ indeed.  As a teacher, I don’t approve of it.  I’m glad there are still humane people who are not afraid to voice out their opposition of this torturous and barbaric method of interrogation.

Is it really a successful method to elicit information from detainees?  Well, here’s the answer:

In December 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued a declassified 500 page summary of its still classified 6,700 page report on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Detention and Interrogation Program. The report concluded that “the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) was not effective for acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.” According to the report, the CIA had presented no credible proof that information obtained through waterboarding or the other harsh interrogation methods that the CIA employed prevented any attacks or saved any lives. There was no evidence that information obtained from the detainees through EIT was not or could not have been obtained through conventional interrogation methods.

 

Elicit

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