Everything Old Is New Again II

by Kevin Jon Heller

At his new blog, Derek Gregory posts the following photo, which shows American soldiers applying the “water cure” during the war in the Phillippines, which lasted from 1899-1902:

Of course, not everything old is new again.  Five Army officers were convicted by courts-martial for using the “water cure” during the Phillippine War, with one reviewing authority unequivocally describing the interrogation method as torture.  Why the Army looked backward instead of forward has been lost in the annals of time.


3 Responses

  1. and Kevin, remarkably 29 U.S. federal and state court cases had recognized that waterboarding or a similar inducement of suffocation by water is torture and 7 U.S. Dep’t of State Country Reports on the human rights record of other states had recognized that waterbaording is torture!  see Paust, The Absolute Prohibition of Torture…, 43 Valparaiso Law Review 1535, 1553-57, 1559-61 (2009), available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1331159 All that any lawyer in the Bush-Cheney era would have had to have done would have been to turn on their computers and engage in normal computer-assisted research! John Yoo has several admissions in his book about the “inner circle” and their decision to try to avoid Geneva law’s strictures regarding interrogation, etc. several lawyers are clearly reasonably accused of aiding and abetting the conduct of direct perpetrators and Bush has admitted that he had a “program” of secret detention and harsh interrogation and, later in his book, that such included waterboarding. Cheney has made similar admissions of guilt. Rice admitted that she conveyed the policy decision of Bush.

  2. Please withdraw this slander on the Army, unless you have some evidence that US Army personnel have engaged in waterboarding a prisoner.

    CIA personnel, who have been so accused, are civilians, not subject to military discipline or court martial.

    Also, the water cure is different from waterboarding.

  3. Response…
    Int’l Lawyer: I was going to add that when Colin Powell (who must have been aware of the laws of war as a General) complained and his Legal Adviser and a COL who was working closely with him, they were by passed; and when the Judge Advocate Generals of the Armed Services and other military lawyers complained, they were by passed.  Condi Rice took over and for nearly two years had meetings in the White House Situation Room that Cheney attended sometimes, and his lawyer, David Addington, John Yoo, etc.  Nonetheless, there were some JAGs at GTMO who apparently requested coercive interrogation tactics (ultimately from Rusmfeld) or approved them or facilitated them early on. See Beyond the Law: The Bush Administration’s Unlawful Responses in the “War” in Terror (Cambridge Univ. Press 2007).

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