It's official: Attorney General Eric Holder has "ruled out the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects yesterday, calling it a form of torture that the Obama administration could never condone," according to this Reuters story in the NY Post (link). He is quoted: "Waterboarding is torture. My Justice Department will not justify it, will not rationalize it and will not condone it."
That sounds fine and upstanding, but why doesn't he take exception to waterboarding being practiced on our own troops, for training purposes? As I watched a Fox News report on this story, they had video of one of their reporters being waterboarded. Why is that not a crime, but waterboarding terrorists is? I get it; "voluntary" submission to "torture" is legal, and doing it to someone against their will is a crime. Still, isn't that "justifying" torture, something the AG said his Justice Department would never do?
There's also a slight "conflict of interest" for AG Holder, according to Gordon Cucullu, writing in the NY Post OP-ED section (link):
Holder's previous job, after all, was as a senior partner with Covington and Burling - a white-shoe DC law firm that devotes considerable pro bono time to defending the Gitmo detainees. The job paid $2 million a year, and he expects to collect a like amount this year as part of his separation package.
As a senior partner, he undoubtedly had significant input on what kind of charity cases his firm picked up. He surely knew that dozens of lawyers from from his firm were among the 500-plus civilian lawyers representing the 244 or so remaining detainees (on top of military-court-appointed defenders).
Even now, his Covington colleagues continue to allege rampant torture at Gitmo. They're fighting hard to have detainees tried through the US court system - essentially given the same rights as US citizens.
Basically, Holder is in a position to help his former employer by declaring waterboarding to be "torture," under official DoJ guidelines. The bigger question is why do we train our troops to endure this, if we really think our enemies will follow our "guidelines" for interrogation? The fact is that our enemies, and many of our allies use worse methods than "waterboarding" in interrogation.
There is no defense of the argument that this will keep our captured troops from being tortured. It won't. Some will argue that "we're better than that," and we are, by outlawing these methods of interrogation on regular POW's. Terrorists are not protected by the Geneva Conventions. If we practice this act on our own people regularly (though voluntarily), why should it be banned for enemies who have no regard for "human rights" at all?
A final thought: Ask the next person who says "America is better than that" to define how, and why. Ask them what it is that makes us superior to our enemies, or whether we are "superior" to any nation at all, whether friend or foe. You may find that people like Eric Holder don't actually believe we are "better" than any other nation, regarding human rights, or by any other measure. Their attempts to "correct" our perceived flaws are little more than posturing for their fellow "social justice" advocates. Will the Obama administration end the "torturing" of our troops, in the name of "social justice?" Somehow, I don't think so.