Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Waterboarding
On the wall of Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia there are pictures of how the Khmer Rouge used to torture prisoners. I've been to the museum a number of times, and it is a shocking place to go. One of the methods they used was waterboarding. Simulated drowning. It is surprising that the question of whether or not this is torture is one that has become a topic of debate on the campaign trail.

Years ago, when the Khmer Rouge was doing it, no one would have called it anything but torture. Now that the United States is doing it, apparently it's just a "severe interrogation." I would say, "Funny how that happens," but there is nothing funny about it. This President has repeatedly said, "We don't torture." Now a former CIA officer, a man who apparently took part in the interrogation of al Qaeda suspects (but not the actual waterboarding,) has said that in fact it is torture.

Now you can argue about whether or not it's justified, whether or not it saves lives, but no politician can stand up and say we don't torture. We have, perhaps we still do. Tonight, you will see what waterboarding really looks like. You will have the opportunity to decide for yourself if it's torture.. and if it's justified. It is a disturbing look at a practice few people really understand. Tonight, after what we show you, you will no longer be able to say, you didn't know.

- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 4:46 PM ET
  18 Comments
Anderson,
If pouring water on someones face so that they can't breath isn't torture then I don't know what is!! And whoever thinks that waterboarding is not torture is out of their minds in my book!!

I think this administration thinks that the U.S. is exempt from the international laws because really who is going to do anything to us!? It is a shame that they still won't admit that they are wrong! But they seem to have that problem ALOT!!

Can't wait to see this report! I'm really interested in seeing it!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 5:03 PM ET
Maybe someone better buy the President and his cronies a dictionary and hi-lite the word torture. How can a nation that says they value human life so much claim this to not be torture. However, its good to know that some people are now coming forward to voice their concern. Too bad it didn't happen sooner, before the CIA tapes were destroyed.
Posted By Marcia, Warren MI : 5:08 PM ET
I haven't seen the waterboarding from what I understand John McCain was trying to tell people another words it's tortured and we not following the Geneva convention he was prisoner of war for years who would know better then him. I'm not saying that I vote for John McCain or anyone at this point. But I believe was John McCain was right on this subject.

Jennifer - Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 5:20 PM ET
Anderson,

I don't have any doubt that waterboarding is torture; I have seen it demonstrated a number of times. Anyone who says that it is not is a liar. The Bush administration always seems to be using a different dictionary than everyone else, they should be confronted with their distorted definition of torture and be forced to admit to the world that what they are doing is torture.

These prisoners may have given up information, but I believe when anyone is tortured to that degree they will say anything to make it stop.

When our government lowers itself by using these techniques to get what they want they are no better than the Khmer Rouge in the eyes of its citizens and the rest of the world.

They will try to find a way to try to discredit this officer.

Jo Ann
North Royalton, Ohio
Posted By Jo Ann : 5:21 PM ET
As someone who has had experiences with almost drowning, those are some of the scariest moments in my life. Whether it is justified or not it is scary as hell and I can't think of a way it is not torture. I am really interested in seeing this piece tonight. Can't wait
Posted By Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 5:22 PM ET
Hi Anderson, waterboarding is torture, no question about it. Our country should be ashamed that we're doing this. There are other ways to interrogate people, and torture, in any way, shape, or form, is not one of them.

As Ayn Rand, novelist and philosopher, once said, "The end does not justify the means. No one's rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others."

Thanks,
Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth : 5:22 PM ET
It is torture. This country prides itself on human rights and the rights of the people but when it comes to citizens of other countries we don't seem to care how we treat them. No matter how horrible someone is that doesn't give us the right to torture them. We need to start practicing what we preach. If we condemn others for it then why is it okay for us to do it?
Posted By Holly from Florida : 5:26 PM ET
Anderson, I don't have to see it before deciding. In my mind it's torture and so not a normal way of interrogating someone. I'm pretty sure that the people who had to go true it won't call it "severe interrogation"!
Like every night I'll watch the program, and although I agree that waterboarding is something we all should be made aware of, and I do thank you for that, I can't say I'm looking forward to actually seeing it!

Kristien, Antwerp, Belgium
Posted By Kristien : 5:29 PM ET
It seems to me that a person being tortured would just say whatever the torturer wanted to hear in order to make it stop, regardless of whether or not it was true. So aside from its sheer barbarity, it isn't even an effective means of getting information. I am ashamed that our government would use such techniques as waterboarding, which is most assuredly torture. No, ashamed is too mild a term. Appalled is more like it.
Posted By Barbara in Culver City, CA : 5:34 PM ET
I haven't seen the waterboarding from what I understand John Mc Cain was trying to tell people another words it's tortured and we not following the Geneva convention he was prisoner of war for years who would know better then him, I'm not saying that I vote for John Mc Cain or anyone at this point. But I believe was John McCain was right on the subject.

Jennifer - Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 5:35 PM ET
Anderson,

I have repeatedly heard the term "waterboarding" in the news lately but I haven't really listened to what it is really about. After reading your blog, I just did a little bit of research and read John Kiriakou's disturbing description of this awful technique. I can't believe that there is even controversy over this subject on whether or not it is torture. It is clearly torture.

p.s. On a lighter note...I didn't know Pat Sajak had a blog either!
Posted By Tracie, Chicago IL : 5:41 PM ET
"This President has repeatedly said, "We don't torture." "

This President has said a lot of things that turn out not to be true. When are we going to start calling it 'lying'?
Posted By Arachnae, Sterling VA : 5:45 PM ET
Anderson,
After seeing the Syrian torture with my own eyes, waterboarding is a piece of cake. But to be on track with the blog question, yes indeed it is a true torture, i dont think it's a method of rewarding in anyway possible. And lets face it, whether we follow human rights or are anti torture, methods of torture will occur in every country, no matter how democratic that country is. We are humans, and that sides comes out even on the most liberal people ever, although in that case it may happen undercover.
Is it right? of course not! especially if your anti-torture and you still practice it, i think the second worse after a person who tortures is a hypocrite.
Posted By LulaK : 6:02 PM ET
Tonight, after what we show you, you will no longer be able to say, you didn't know.

With knowledge comes responsibility, so the saying goes. Here's hoping that the more people know about the use of torture, and the more people who own up to this horrible practice - the better the chance of seeing actual change for the better.

Cynthia M. Genato
Makati City
Philippines
Posted By Starshadow : 6:11 PM ET
Oh Anderson, it's just the double standard that the US lives by....we can do whatever we want, while telling the rest of the world how to act.

Geez, are you new here?
Posted By Anonymous : 6:40 PM ET
Waterboarding is torture, period. If our government is going to use it and condone it, we should own up to it. But of course, they are afraid that "we the people" would object, and apparently they haven't yet shredded the Constitution thoroughly enough to have lost those first three words.
Posted By Cynthia, Portland OR : 6:55 PM ET
you make a good point anderson, we can argue endlessly about whether or not it's justified or saves lives but the point is it's still T-O-R-T-U-R-E. So politicians should recognize "yes, we torture to try and save lives". That would be the honest, straightforward thing to do. Rather than insult our intelligence!

See you tonight.
Posted By Mariela, New York, NY : 6:56 PM ET
Anderson:

You're doing a great job of sticking to your New Year's resolution and it's not even New Year's yet. I guess you do love us (your avid viewers) afterall.

Kim from Bolingbrook, IL
Posted By Kim : 5:22 PM ET
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