Rudy Giuliani “isn’t sure” if waterboarding – a simulated drowning technique allegedly used by the United States armed forces in the war on terror – is torture. Waterboarding induces the feeling of imminent death – see also, mock execution – which is illegal under international law. Used during the Spanish Inquisition and in the Cambodian genocide, waterboarding was considered a war crime in WWII.
Giuliani alleges that the “liberal media” portrays the technique inaccurately, and says the line between what is torture and what isn’t is “very delicate and very difficult”. However, even a key player in his own party, Senator John McCain (who served in Vietnam and survived torture himself) sharply rebuked Giuliani’s statements:
“Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak… people who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned. We are a better nation than that.”
Bottom line? Giuliani thinks torture is ok… sometimes. For instance, it’s ok when it is part of “aggressive questioning of Islamic terrorists”. Just Islamic terrorists, Rudy? I suppose I should appreciate that he can be sure about something.
To further open mouth and insert foot, he equated long hours on the campaign trail to sleep deprivation – another form of torture used in interrogation processes and condemned by the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of Israel. He must have confused his penchant for luxury, waterfront hotels – which he reaches via private jet – with Guantanamo Bay.
With even experienced military men like John McCain not just condemning, but also questioning the efficacy of “methods” like waterboarding, Giuliani’s credibility takes a shot. But to put any sort of fuzzy conditions on torture? Reprehensible. I can hear Giuliani squirm as I say that he needs to take a page from Nancy Pelosi’s book. In her explicit condemnation of the Armenian genocide, she said:
“Some of what harms our troops relates to values – Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, torture. Our troops are well-served when we declare who we are as a country, and we declare it to the rest of the world.”
Rudy, torture is torture. And if you can’t stomach Pelosi’s principles, didn’t you once say that relying on God’s guidance is at the core of who you are? Surely spiritual reflection would guide one to the realization that there is never any condition which makes torture excusable.