We executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding

I just came across this post from Paul Begala that explains that we actually hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding following WWII.  

On November 29, 2007, Sen. McCain, while campaigning in St.
Petersburg, Florida, said, "Following World War II war crime trials
were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war
crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which
they were convicted was waterboarding."

Sen. McCain was right and the National Review Online is wrong. Politifact, the St. Petersburg Times'
truth-testing project (which this week was awarded a Pulitzer Prize),
scrutinized Sen. McCain's statement and found it to be true. Here's the
money quote from Politifact:

"McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials,
officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far
East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to
prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the
list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then
as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the
charging documents. It simulates drowning." Politifact went on to
report, "A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges
were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in
labor camps."

This is such an amazing powerful argument.  I just don't see how people can go around defending waterboarding as not torture when we executed people for doing it.  Case closed.  The fact that so many Republicans (admittedly not all, but far too many) are defending waterboarding is both intellectually and morally indefensible.  The Republican party has so lost its way.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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