Ever since the term 'War on Terror' was first used by then US President George W. Bush, in September of 2001, interrogation techniques to elicit information from captured militants or terrorists has been one of the most hotly discussed topics. It goes without saying that extracting information from captured militants is very useful. However, there is a school of thought that believes countries and their intelligence agencies should only go to certain lengths to extract this information. Perhaps one of the most powerful, and controversial, investigation cum torture techniques to extract information is 'water boarding'. Waterboarding involves pouring water over an immobilized victim's face and make the victim feel as if he is drowning. Undoubtedly powerful, the use of water boarding and related means of torture were outlawed by the CIA. Yet, water boarding remains the only torture technique that is effective at extracting information, at least according to a few, and many people argue if the information is worth the torture, then water boarding should be used.
The benefits of waterboarding are certainly there. The technique was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammad 180 times over the course of his interrogation, and he started his confession within 3 minutes. In addition, water boarding is, according to the CIA, not painful at all, and is very effective at obtaining the desired results. (Rittgers, 2013)
The downsides of waterboarding though, severely outweigh and outnumber its advantages. For starters, the use of torture techniques and water boarding in particular leads the torture victim to give away information that is false. For example, Abu Subaida was water boarded, and he started confessing after only 35 seconds. However, the information that he provided was fake, and given away to stop the torture. Moreover, it is hard to draw a line as to when water boarding should be used or not. For instance, if waterboarding is used in a particular scenario, and if the results are successful, then there is always the chance that the technique might be used again. This is the reason why President Obama and the Human Rights groups throughout the world have outlawed the use of waterboarding.
The bottom line remains that waterboarding, and any form of torture for that matter, is inhumane and unethical. The world has been doing fairly well without these techniques, and things should stay that way. Therefore, no matter how valuable the information being withheld, the ethical side of things is too hard to ignore, ergo, waterboarding should never be brought into the picture again.
Rittgers, D. (2011, May 31). Did waterboarding work?. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/31/opinion/la-oe-rittgers-waterboarding-20110531