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April 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Waterboarding 2 members of al Qaeda 266 times constitute a crime?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Those hotly debated Bush era interrogation memos include this little nugget: CIA officials waterboarded two al Qaeda suspects 266 times. Interrogators waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August of 2002; and they used the tactic against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the 9/11 attacks, 183 times in March of 2003. That's about six times a day.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, seen in a December sketch, was waterboarded 183 times in a month, a memo says.

These memos show waterboarding was used more frequently and with a greater volume of water than CIA rules allowed. Time magazine suggests the use of the tactic seemed to "occasionally get out of control." Don't you wonder what they learned from Khalid Sheik Mohammed the 183rd time they waterboarded him that they didn't know after waterboarding him 182 times?

In an about-face today, President Obama opened the door to the possibility of criminal prosecution for former Bush officials who authorized this stuff. He says it will be up to the attorney general to decide whether or not to prosecute them. Up until now, the president insisted there would be no investigation of those who ordered the torture, or those who carried it out.

The president's reversal comes a day after Senator Dianne Feinstein - whose Intelligence Committee has started a closed-door investigation into all of this - urged him to stop making public promises not to launch criminal prosecutions related to the interrogation program.

There is also pressure coming from the United Nations, which says the U.S. has signed the international Convention Against Torture and is therefore required to investigate and prosecute any credible allegations of same.

Here’s my question to you: Does waterboarding two members of al Qaeda 266 times constitute a crime?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Allan from Placerville, California writes:
If this is not torture, I don't know what is. The people involved and those who allowed it to happen should be tried for war crimes. We certainly can't complain about other countries if we aren't above it.

Chris from New York writes:
What constitutes a crime is our elected officials not doing everything in their power to protect us from those whose life mission is to do us harm. So poor Khalid Sheik Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, huh? I wouldn't care if it happened 366 times. His life's mission is to see you, me, your children and my children destroyed, so call me a "right wing wacko" if I don't feel sorry that he had some water poured on his face a bunch of times.

Kim from Dodge City, Kansas writes:
Yes, it's criminal behavior by the CIA at the very least. But so is sending over 4,000 American soldiers to their death without a proper and legal declaration of war. As for me, I say we are torturing the wrong guys.

John from Canada writes:
If killing a person with a bomb or bullet in wartime isn’t criminal, how can this procedure during the ‘war on terror’ be considered wrong? Why aren’t suspects interrogated using chemical ‘truth serum’-style drugs? In the race to be politically correct and to abide to the Geneva Conventions, our only options left are to issue sternly worded memos and deny whipped cream on their desserts.

Gigi from Oregon writes:
Sure does. Now what are we going to do about it? I'm for an eye-for-an-eye. Those that ordered the waterboarding should feel their pain.

Derek writes:
If it saves 266 American lives then I don't believe it is. All options should be on the table when it comes to intelligence gathering to save American and lives and defend our nation from harm. These men tried to kill Americans. What if on the 266th time they told the interrogator where Osama bin Laden was?

Paul writes:
Waterboarding two members of al Qaeda 266 times is not a crime. It's 266 crimes.


Filed under: Al Qaeda
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Daniel, Englewood FL

    If I was waterboarded 266 times I would think it was a crime...hell if I was waterboarded once I would think it's a crime. When it comes to war though the rules are never very clear.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  2. tom in scottsdale

    Anyone who commits war crimes should be brought to trial and receive appropriate punishment for the crime, No One is above the law, including the President!
    It's time to do what they where sworn in to do to "Support the Constitution" for Equal Justice for ALL!

    April 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  3. TXROADDIE

    Four thousand more times would be more appropriate. One instance from each death in the twin towers. Don't expect any mercy from the other side.

    Remember Nero fiddled while Rome burnt to the ground around him.

    Always feel sorry for the enemy. They don't know any better than stoning or beheading. Their's is a religion of peace!

    April 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Paula in Albuquerque

    Indeed. If the bird-brained, psychopaths who dreamt that this would be the road to enemy information and national security, couldn't find another means of getting what they needed...they are criminals, and deserve to do hard time, in maximum-security detention centers.

    I'm not a bit surprised, though. This country has always demonized other countries as "barbaric", and heedless of peoples' rights...while, at the same time, fomenting revolutions, and selling arms to BOTH sides in the wars that they encourage...

    April 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  5. Pugas-AZ

    Does killing almost 3000 people constitute a crime?

    April 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  6. Antonio Davis

    Jack, waterboarding them once constituted a crime. Everyone is talking about prosecuting the so called "architects." How about the people who commissioned the building itself. Mobile,Al

    April 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  7. IKE in Atlanta

    Water-boarding any human being is a crime. It does not matter who: remember these are not convicted criminals and you are supposed to be innocent untill convicted.That is the rule of law.
    The harsh methods used by the Bush Administration was morally wrong and inexcusable. Its like stealing from a thief because he is a thief: you know what , you are now both guity of same crime!

    April 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Melissa

    If there is a law against it, and you do it anyway, it's a crime. End of story.

    Why is this so hard?

    Phoenix Arizona.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  9. Debby

    Does beheading and shooting Am. soldiers and journalists constitute a crime Jack? I didn't hear anything about these terrorists dying while this so called waterboarding was being done.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  10. Bill in Michigan

    Once was a crime, 266 times is sadistic. To let this go unpunsihed would be acquiescence of depravity and the shunning of our morality.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  11. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    Waterboarding anyone 1 time constitutes a crime. Those who ordered it and those who performed it are all guilty of war crimes and should be prosecuted. I can understand Obama's dilemma but I cannot believe that those doing the waterboarding did not know it was torture and as such illegal. The excuse "I was just following orders" was rejected at Nuremberg and is no more valid now.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  12. Ciara

    Hey Jack, a crime is a crime, i wonder if the tables were turn and another country did that to an American, would you be asking that question? or you guys would be hunting down those people to either kill them or bring them to justice. We are all human beings, we all hurt, so we deserve the same Justice. Look what happen the other day with the pirates, they didn't even hurt a hair on the captains head, and they are dead. So i think these people should go to jail or else next time it will be worse.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  13. Thomas in Washington DC

    What would be our reaction if some other country waterboarded one of our citizens even once, no less 183 times?

    We would be crying torture so loudly. We would be demanding retribution and criminal charges.

    After WWII, we sent Japanese military men to prison for 30 years because they waterboarded people.

    So basically it is OK for the US to waterboard but not OK for other countries to Waterboard.

    Sounds kinda silly.. in a sick pathetic sort of way.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  14. Will

    Labeling this a crime would be similar to putting abortion doctors on trial for murder. Hotly contested, morally ambiguous issues cannot be tried ex post facto. These people were acting in the best interest of the nation and under the presumption of legality. You would have to take this clear up to Bush and then you'd just have to agree to disagree on whether or not this actually constitutes torture.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  15. Matt - Santa Rosa, Ca

    3000 dead Americans, 2 al-qaeda members waterboarded, but still alive.
    You tell me which incident constitutes a crime

    April 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  16. aspenfreepress

    Yep! In this imperfect world, there are times when some of us find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of having to question authority, no matter how dire the consequences. Sterling Greenwood/Aspen Free Press

    April 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  17. Independent in Indiana

    It does constitute a crime, cause when it was done to our boys in WWII, we weren't shy about saying so. When it comes to the UN and their want for a full disclosure and prosecutions, that is fine with me. We have to hold ourselves to the same standard we would hold other governments. The UN should not be a puppet of the US and should hold us accountable when we break treaties we signed.

    April 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Susan in Ohio

    Yes it's a crime, not to mention inhumane and immoral. And, if it's "so effective," why did it have to be done 266 times?

    I just got one question...what ever happened to truth serum? James Carvelle suggested that last week. Surely there are new and improved drugs these days that can make even the most hard-core "terrorist" talk your ear off.

    Susan in Ohio

    April 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  19. Jenna Wade

    Does waterboarding two members of al Qaeda 266 times constitute a crime?

    If we did that to say like.. Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity do you think they would call it a crime?

    They all say that t's not torture.. So waterboarding them 266 times would not be a crime..

    Right??

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  20. B in NC

    If it isn't a crime, can we all watch Cheney be water-boarded 266 times on a reality show?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  21. John

    According to the law, a single instance of waterboarding is a crime. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah are truly evil men, but we are judged by how we treat the worst of us. They deserve a quick execution, but not torture.

    266 times shows how effective waterboarding is: it's totally useless. It is only useful in extracting false confessions. I'm fairly confident that if we pulled a random person off the street and waterboarded him 180 times, he would admit to being a terrorist.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  22. Pete - Boulder, Colorado

    Yes. If another country did the same thing, it would be a war crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  23. BJNJ

    Only 266 times? Waterboarding to get information when lives are at stake is NOT torture. Drilling holes in leg bones with power drills, hooking up electrodes to private parts, cutting of hands, killing children and plucking out eyes IS TORTURE.

    America is up again a bunch of sickos who should loose their membership in humanity.

    BJNJ

    April 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  24. cy gardner

    The sad fact is that I would be less concerned if we had waterboarded Karl Rove 266 times rather than these guys. Look at all the valuable information we might get from Rove. We could get the true story on the Plame disgrace, what Bush really knew before lying us into the Iraq war, how drunk Cheney was when he shot that old guy, why certain companies got so many no bid contracts, and so on and so on through the dozens of Bush scandals and disgraces. Yeah, it is a matter of national security, let's waterboard Karl Rove 266 times. cy gardner, arlington va

    April 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  25. Rae

    Jack, no it isn't a crime. When the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is right there under your nose and you have a chance to get information out of him, you don't play nicey-nice and expect to get somewhere. Was he playing nicey-nice when he plotted to kill thousands of people on our own soil?? No, and he doesn't deserve any better treatment than he gave us. I say whatever it took to get info out of them is what needed to be done. And we need to see what the memos say about the results they got from those interrogation methods....get Obama to order those released too.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  26. Hank Pihl

    Jack the answer is yes.

    It seems that preident Bush,and his vice president Cheney have
    lied to the American people over and over again,not to forget
    Rumsfeld who has said that we don't torture people.
    What happen to the Geneva convention doctrine I ask you.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  27. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    You know, this is a no-brainer. It is a crime plain and simple. It violates the Geneva Convention. We prosecuted the Japanese for doing it in WWII. Contrary to Cheney's belief system, morality is not conditional. We, the United States, should be setting an example to the rest of world. And no one, even our president and yes, even our vice president, is above the law. If torture was authorized by the White House, the responsible parties should be duly prosecuted accordingly. Period.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  28. Carolyn in Houston

    Absolutely. Torture is reprehensible, un-American and patently illegal. The U.S. lost its moral grounding when it engaged in sick, twisted and unnecessary torture.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  29. Allen L Wenger

    Yes. But the question I have is this. We were told that waterboarding worked so well, that Sheik Mohammed told us everything after just 30 seconds. So why was he waterboarded 165 more times?

    Mountain Home ID

    April 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  30. joe mckee

    Jack, the US military charged and convicted a US officer during the Spanish American War for waterboarding, at the time it was defined in court as torture. We and our allies charged and convicted both Germans and Japanese soliders and officers at the close of WWII for war creimes; among which was a torture practice know as waterboarding. We are a [party to a number of treaties and agrements against torture as we should be as a democratic nation.

    Water boarding just one person, one time is a crime; it is the crime of torture.
    Joe McKee
    Worcester, MA

    April 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  31. Mike of Hot Springs.

    Back in my days as a prosecutor I would love the case. In any case I would love to see all those who wrote those memos as well as Cheney be waterboarded just once.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  32. teachend

    The equivocation on here is a little silly. Of course 3000 Americans dead is a crime. That doesn't mean the torture isn't.

    Nevertheless, the crime is legalizing the torture in the first place. The CIA agents or military waterboarding cannot be held responsible. But those who authorized the illegal activity should be.

    And for those here not schooled in legality, see "A Few Good Men" for precedent. :)

    April 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  33. cindy in Littleton, CO

    Yes, it's a crime of the worst kind. And, here's a question for all the conservative Christians who helped elect the previous administration: Do you really believe that if Christ were alive today, that he would advocate torture? Think about it....

    April 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  34. Robert Trumbo

    Place yourself in the prisoners place and ask one question: After the first dunk, will I tell my inquisitor exactly what he wants to hear or do I wish to have 265 more dunks to get it right? Then ask another question as to how reliable the answere might be? My final question: Is it only fair that my enemy should be allowed to perpetrate the same crime on our troups who happen to be in harms way?

    Bob TN

    April 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  35. Robert

    Obama scares me. He has no backbone and takes no responsibility for anything. Why did he parade around Europe like a submissive puppy waiting to beaten by other countries. There was no reason to release memos from a prior administration, much less of this magnitude (not to mention there are 1,000 other memos). Obama will be the end of the US Superpower.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  36. Kelby, In Houston Texas

    Waterboarding is torture. Torture is a crime. So, one only has to waterboard an individual once for it to constitute a crime. These people spilled their guts before the torture began. Torture gets you false information.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Greg Mechanicsburg, PA

    Yes. Torture is a crime. Orders coming from the highest office in the land to command subordinates to commit these crimes is a violation of everything sacred, everything that makes us human. The subordinates who conducted the torture were under great duress and they would have received life-destroying sanctions if they had not complied. If President Obama and this nation truly want to establish the U.S. as a leader in ethics and morality, then we must find the truth and those of the highest offices who demanded that these crimes be committed must be held accountable. If we wish to be favored by God, then we must prove ourselves worthy.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  38. Pat, Pa.

    Absolutely ! If anyone is waterboarded just once it is a crime. I do not agree with not going after Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rove, to name just the worst of the lot. I can live with truth serum but waterboarding anyone is a crime and anyone who was responsible for it should be punished. Severly punished.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  39. James New Jersey

    Yes, because if it was an American we would call it a crime. Why should we be held to a different standard. All those involved should be punished. I am sure we got something out of the suspects but how much of it was actually worth something?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  40. Lee Ann Brown

    You bet your butt it is! This was against the Geneva Convention. Which we had agreed to, so yes it was a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  41. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    Not only yes, but hell yes. To the Machievellian thinking NeoCons, THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS! What separates us from the evil we want to stop is the respect the world has for us and our country. We set high standards for our actions, and we live to those standards. As an Army retiree, I most firmly bellieve we as Americans need to follow the Nuernburg Example. Start with those that committed the act of torture and then climb the ladder and prosecute each and every person in the chain of command that authorized torture.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  42. Hans from Alabama

    Jack,

    if we really believe ourselves to be a nation of laws, and sign international treaties, then hell yes, this is a crime. We should prosecute those that did it as well as those that ordered it done right up to where the buck is claimed to stop. We have tried others for such crimes and would have no credibility with anyone if we did not.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  43. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Waterboarding once is a crime. Let’s call a spade a spade, we did to others what we would not have wanted done to us. Maybe an in-depth investigation with penalties will wipe the smug looks of Bushes and Cheney’s faces. They abused the power we invested them with saying to themselves and us that the end justified the means. Hogwash.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  44. Wisconsin Don

    I don't consider it a crime because I don't consider terrorists human beings. They sure won't cough up info if we ask them pretty please.
    Now suppose those terrorists don't talk and there is another attack killing thousands of Americans. Then whose crime is it that our country was not protected?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  45. Kerry Florida

    Well, actually waterboarding has always been a war crime since WWII when the Japanese were found to have used it on Americans and I see no reason that it's alright for us to do...I mean we are arrogant, but does that give us the right to be hypocritical as well?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  46. Jennifer

    The international community has declared waterboarding even once to be a crime. The fact that radical, violent extremists killed 3,000 Americans and would kill more if given the chance doesn't change that fact. If waterboarding was effective, it wouldn't need to be done 266 times to get information. And if it isn't a crime, what would the Bush administration care about the memos being publicized? Why do they care about being prosecuted if they are so sure no crime was committed?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  47. Kim, Charlotte NC

    Why doesn't someone waterbaord Bush and Cheney for "9-11" times and find out why we really invaded Iraq!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  48. Dick

    If it isn't a crime, why didn't Bush and Cheney allow the FBI to use waterboarding on someone like Drew Peterson. If waterboarding is as successful as Cheney says it was and isn't a crime to use, every police department in the country would be using it.
    But somehow, I have to believe if waterboarding was stopping six al Qaeda attacks a day for a whole month, Bush and Cheney sure as hell would have let us know about it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  49. Geri - Mead,Oklahoma

    The people who perpetrated the crimes and the interrogators are spawned from the same cloth Jack. Like always attracts like. The slayer becomes the slain and the slain the slayer. We all have lessons to learn and we will learn them one way or another. Our greatest challenge in this world is the way in which we deal with violence and there are far too many people who do have a love for violence whether or not they were born in the USA or the middle east. If you believe violence is a useful weapon, that the use of it makes you feel more powerful than another then you will commit acts of violence. Intent is everything. Criminal? Depends on what your beliefs are.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  50. Don in Delaware

    Look, Jack., I don't condone the policy, the administration that secretly authorized it, or the grossly excessive number of times we used it, but at least we didn't throw them in front of a camera and behead them.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  51. ajks

    Yes, prosecuters need to start looking at Mr. "we don't need to apologize" Cheney and work from there.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  52. Paco

    It is not only TORTURE it is TERRORISM.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  53. jp,michigan

    Why has no one counted the number of be-headings by Al Queda? Water boarding is a walk in the park by comparison!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  54. Deb in Lancaster, PA

    Yes, without question. To say anything else is to give up the best of what the U.S. has always stood for.
    If terrorists waterboarded 2 Americans 266 times in a month, we would certainly consider it a crime.
    We will be a better nation for acknowledging our mistake. The only way to regain our dignity as a nation is to never do it again.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  55. Frank From Selwyn

    The more I hear about what the Bush administration did to fellow human beings the more I'm convinced the inmates were in charge of the asylum.

    There are thousands of Americans detained in prisons for horrendous crimes so the question now becomes is it an acceptable practice to torture them to gain information on other unsolved crimes?

    If the answer to the latter question is no then torture is indeed a crime to be punished but if the answer is yes then I guess it doesn't really matter if it happened once or 266 times.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  56. J.L.

    It has been established... waterboarding is torture. Torture is against the law in the US. So just a little bit of logic would dictate waterboarding is against the law. Therefore if waterboarding is used, then the law is being broken and crime is being committed. Plain and simple... of course, if I remember correctly, George W. Bush was always saying, "We do not torture." Seeing the released memos now, we can see why he said that with a straight face. Twist things enough and "torture" doesn't become torture anymore.

    And to those who like bringing up that these were terrorists and they murdered, either directly or indirectly, hundreds if not thousands of people. One crime does not justify committing another... because this is easily a slippery slope you start going down once you do.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  57. Tim, Clemmons NC

    Yes, it is. Do the ends justify the means? Ask John McCain what he thinks about torture. Ask him is it a crime? What really bothers me is when then President Bush lied to the American people and said "we do not torture" when in fact we were!!! . Isn't that also a crime? But more importantly, if we torture, how can we go after or condemn countries that do?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  58. Bob

    Waterboarding anyone juat one time constitutes a crime. It is a violation of international law. There is no provision in the law that provides immunity to the United States.

    Anyone authorizing waterboarding should be prosecuted. We participated in the in prosecution of Japanese officials for doing the same thing during World War II.

    Our failure to prosecute those responsible for the authorization of waterboarding will be seen by the rest of the world as the heigth of hypocrisy.

    Bob
    Louisville

    April 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  59. Karl from SF, CA

    Water boarding is a crime, period, and Cheney’s story never made sense to me. Since our career intelligence people know it produces garbage and is against the law, why would they ever go to Cheney and ask if they could do it, anyway, as he claims? Any good reasons? It is more reasonable to me that Cheney devised the plan, told DOJ what to write to “justify” it, for whatever sadistic reasons, and the order came from Darth Vader to do it. Why else are the career CIA folks shaking in their shoes now that the truth of what was done is out?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  60. George-Windsor-Canada

    Jack
    With all due respect before we try to prosecute this people,i would like to see the results of torture.
    Remember this wacko guys who bombed New York,Bali,London and commit so many other crimes are no angels either.
    I agree with former Vice- President by realising the memos with the results of torture.
    I was born in a comunist Romania and if you wanna know what torture is i will tell you.
    This guys are not innocent and to see all this left liberals crying now it makes me puke.If Cliton would took action sooner in former Yougoslavia there would be not that many atrocities.
    Torture is when you go to someone that is innocent
    and torture them.I am so gratefull to those who make us safer here in Canada and USA.
    i WOULD SAY TORTURE ANYONE WHO TRY TO HURT INNOCENT PEOPLE!!!!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  61. CHRIS, Bx., NY

    Jack,
    Torture is wrong.....this was excessive torture.....now I won't lie, had the waterboarding been done a limited amount of times, let's say nothing past my 10 fingers, and 10 toes, I may have, (though not the moral high road), have turned the other cheek..... However, 266 times leads me to believe that this became enjoyable, and routine, as a way to let out frustration of not catching certain people, as in Bin Laden. Listen the cats out of the bag, and prosecutions should be handed out. We had the civil war, 600,000 men, (not counting children) killed...President Lincoln let the defeated confederate soldiers and defeated generals, return to their states and live free....We prosecuted those responsible for the holocost and WWII atrocities....These are great examples, of moral hig ground. We must maintain this ground whether at home or abroad...It doesn't make us weaker letting Al Queda and the Taliban know we don't torture....they still know that when they raise weapons in aggression to our soldiers they will be killed!! If captured they will suffer life in prison, or the death sentence....which to me, is justice enough!!! American justice. Lastly, we can't sacrifice our code of ethics, or our constitutional laws...we must believe in them, and believe that the Fathers of this nation, created a supreme rule of law, that seperates us amongst other nations, and makes us great!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  62. Dave

    Ever heard of the geneva conventions?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  63. durox

    @John: Don't be so confident of the effectiveness... It's not like asking someone 'do you like ice-cream?' I'm sure they have their methods of making sure no question is left out..

    @BJNJ: I see you have a defined list of what's torture and what's not! So, how about 'chinese water torture'? It uses even less water than waterboarding, so in your logic, that might even count as a pleasurable experience ?!?... :}

    April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  64. Arch Stanton, Mississippi

    If we don't condemn this as a crime, then I don't want to ever hear any more bullstuff about this being a "Christian nation." If Christians condone this, then our God has failed. There is a huge difference between killing your enemy in battle and mistreating them once they are your helpless captive. Bush has already disgraced our country and our God by using these tactics, and we should not add to that disgrace by condoning them by turning a blind eye to injustice.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  65. Linda in Arizona

    Well, it does to me. And Obama had better not stand in the way of investigations and prosecutions or he will lose my support.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  66. Gigi in Alabama

    Of course it constitutes a crime and should be punished. I have noticed that the ones screaming the loudest about this so-called outing is Dick Cheney himself.
    We are a nation of laws and a compassionate nation and to have something like this done by someone that we trusted to follow our laws is unconscionable.
    President Obama is trying very hard to rectify the damage done by some very high ranking Americans. We need to stand behind him and not belittle his every effort.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  67. John A. Maloney Jr.

    Would you consider it a crime if they did it to you I would. Our leaders are always claiming that we are the moral leader of the world; torture is immoral no matter how you try to rationalize it. Once you become the same as or worse than the enemy you claim is the savage you lose you become what you hate and that my friend is the battle lost.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  68. rice, bryan

    people act like this is justified due the deaths on 9-11. two wrongs do not make a right. the united states is not in a declared war. how can we treat these criminals, be treated as combatants. we signed a treaty banning such torture, and by doing such actions is against the law. the deaths of the people on 9-11 was horrific, and tragic, this was murder, not an act of war.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  69. Eric

    At this rate, hot-tubbing will be considered torture, unless of course, we forget to fill the tub with the jihadists' 70 virgins. God forbid, can't make these jihadists uncomfortable, or they might get angry and fly planes into buildings... er, wait a second...

    April 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  70. Chris From Ohio

    Waterboarding 266 times is the equivilent of shooting somebody 266 times. 1 time is all it takes. If a guy kills 20 people, they hold him on 20 counts of murder, these CIA agents and Bush administration officialls should be held on 266 counts of torture plus hundred of thousands of counts of murder for US troops and Afghan and Iraqi civilians

    April 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  71. Ken in NC

    It really depends on whose definition you may use to define it as a crime. If you use the definition of Dick and W. then it is not a crime and therefore OK to waterboard Dick and W.

    If you use the present definition for waterboarding, you could call it a crime but it would still be OK to waterboard Dick and W. 183 times

    April 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  72. Rick

    Wow. I simply disagree with it being torture due to the circumstances and the moderator keeps deleting my post. Am I posting on CNN Russia?

    Rick
    Marietta

    April 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  73. David A Whitaker

    Hell yes Jack, my goodness I think after maybe the 10 times someone should of had a ideal on the cruelty of these prisoners. When we act out of anger there is nothing good come out of it, just like punishing your child when you're angry.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  74. Lyn Lindstrom

    Rocklin, CA

    DUH! Maybe we should waterboard Bush and Cheney, they'd certainly be screaming out of the other side of their hats.......jerks!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  75. don (in naples, florida)

    jack, this is america. the only country in the world to drop a nuke on someone. Everyone knows we fight dirty. Does it really come as a surprise that we torture hostages? Come on, stop being so politically correct!!!!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  76. Charles

    There are far worse tortures than waterboarding and as far as I'm concerned they could have used each and every one of them on these two guys.

    Next time we'll just ask them pretty please. That will probably work.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  77. Scot

    If I ever got MY hands on the guy who personally planned crashing airliners in the the World Trade Center towers, I can most defiantly assure you that I would do far, far worse to him than waterboarding. I suspect most people in the country feel the same as I do. I am not trying to justify it as legal but it is most certainly understandable that these three monsters may have been mistreated.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  78. Damon in Salisbury, NC

    NO. It constitutes 266 crimes.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  79. Veteran in DC

    Yes, torture, no matter who it is inflicted upon is a crime against humanity. Or has America become so hypocritical that laws and justice no longer really matter. If we do not live up to the ideals we would hope to set for a better world, and will allow ourselves the use of the tactics of those we condemn, then what really is the difference? Have we not made of ourselves our own worst enemy?

    I have no love of Al Qaida, or any terrorist, but unless we are willing to treat them with real justice, and maybe even mercy where it is warranted, then how could we ever hope to change the worst that this world has to offer? Is your perception of life so utterly hopeless that all that is left is Carthaginian Peace? The size and scope of your target would be a little unrealistic, and the collateral damage could easily destroy everything good for which you ever hoped.

    Justice is more than simply making good laws. It also embodies knowing when and how to appropriately follow or meet the intent of the law. The Koran has many extraordinarily good laws, but when used by men who have a set agenda of their own, do they really deliver the Justice of the Lord?

    " He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. " Freidrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

    April 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  80. Josh Munroe from Ellensburg, WA

    During an era where "the ends justified the means", we saw no significant information come from these two men despite our "legally justified" techniques. Of course it's a crime, even more so that it seems we tortured two men and gained nothing from it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  81. Michael

    What about the case of Maher Arar? What do those who believe in torture and the potential benefits think about that case? Should there be prosecution?
    For those who don't recall, he was the Canadian who was apprehended in New York on changing planes and sent to Syria to be tortured by the Syrians and CIA. It was later found it was a case of mistaken identity and he was released without any charges.

    As an American, I'm appalled and I think Bush administration officials and certainly the CIA agents/bureaucrats should do prison time for this. It's ludicrous that this can happen to an innocent man.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  82. EJW

    YES. 266 times!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  83. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Would it be a crime if it was done to you? Torture is illegal and no matter what they might have done, they are still human beings. I thought we were a country of laws. This should be investigated at the very least and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. How can we regain our standing in the world without it. It must be done. And what about the soldiers of Abu Ghraib infamy? They were arrested and tried. Is there a double standard here?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  84. johnny (pensacola, fl.)

    no!! what the terrorists did in the first place is the real crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  85. Derrick

    Yeah. But I'm not gonna cry over it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  86. Dr. Sam

    NOBODY UNDER OUR SYSTEM OF LAWS IS ABOVE THE LAW
    It is torture! I would hope that under Attorney General Eric Holder, a man of transparent integrity, no one is above the law. Cheney and the likes are advancing the argument that has long been discarded in Western democracies—that the end justifies the means. If we should follow this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, that would mean that we may be justified to cut off the body parts of detainees (including alleged terrorists) in our custody as they do in some Moslem countries, in an attempt to extract needed information from them. Let the full investigation of this matter go forward without any encumbrance from those sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. In the end, we may be able to establish at least four things: whether, as Dick Cheney claims, we got much useful information (which I doubt—hence multiple waterboarding on a daily basis that suggests the information sought was not forthcoming); two, did those involved act even before they were authorized to do so; three, did any one exceed the bounds of authorized practice after they obtained authorization; fourth, who made the authorizationand with what legal logic. Above all, those responsible must be prosecuted to demonstrate to the world that we are a nation of laws and that no one is above the law!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  87. Jim

    If they were getting useful information to protect Americans, it would have been a crime NOT to waterboard them.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  88. Nikki

    It is most definitely a crime. Any such action against a human life to purposely inflict harm (and death in some cases) is ILLEGAL and should be prosecuted. Did we all forget about Human Rights?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  89. Chris Walker

    Would we feel differently if we had a terrorist attack tomorrow?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  90. durox

    @Linda :I agree... Obama should take things more slowly in some areas. He’s not there to reinvent America, he's there to make sure the people have the right/s to decide for themselves! :}

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  91. Ann-Marie Clements

    Under the UCMJ, if you willfully carry out an order that you know to be illegal, you are just as guilty of the infraction as the person who gave the order.
    Ignorance of a law is no excuse.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  92. Becky

    It was a crime the first time they did it. Anything after that was just overkill.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  93. Tom

    On the other side of the coin, I'm guessing that KSM figured out that he wasn't really going to drown after the 100th time.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  94. Gary

    No. It does not. Not under the circumstances that they are supervised, medical staff is standing by, and no one died or was in any way permanently disabled. You call that torture? What about the thousands and thousand of people who live tortured lives over the deaths of their loved ones from terrorist acts. Oh, I'm sorry. We can no longer call them that – they are just misunderstood people who were "expressing themselves" when they took down the towers. Shame on us for having any ill feelings.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  95. sasha, Chicago

    Dick Cheney- on FOX- yesterday stated that Al Qaeda was relatively unknown on 9-11.

    Are you reporters allowing him to get away with this?

    I guess if Dick says no , that it was necessary, well than Dick is right.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  96. Michael, Cleveland

    For these two individuals, I say NO! I think it would be justice to waterboard these two for an hour every morning and an hour every evening for the rest of their miserable lives! I do NOT think it should be done to all of the Gitmo detainees, just the ring leaders!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  97. Ken in NC

    Jack, Romney needs to go and stick his head back in the sand.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  98. Angie

    Is this a serious question? HECK NO!!!!! Did Mr. Obama forget how many people were killed because of these criminals? So now we have more concerns about the well being of terrorist, than we do about killing inicent unborn children? I think it's ridiculous that they are thinking about pressing charges. Maybe next time we should ask if they want a cold beer during their questioning....

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  99. Mike from Indy

    I find it abhorant that these people were waterboarded. However, I really do have a very difficult time feeling that those like Khalid Sheik Mohammed didn't get off a lot easier than those that were captured and slowly beheaded for all the world to see, and as such, I have a hard time feeling sorry for them.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  100. Dan

    Absolutely they should be a crime. We signed many of the agreements that banned a lot of this stuff so we should carry out a full investigation. I think Obama was initially hesitant to prosecute many Bush officials because it they are from opposite political parties and carrying out an investigation would look to political.
    Dan
    St. Louis

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  101. Scott

    We've got to get this stuff out, take ownership of it, and prosecute where appropriate. We must lead by example.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  102. David Dietsch

    It became a crime when the water wasted became more valuable than the information obtained.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  103. Jason

    It is a crime and should be taken up by the justice department. It nuts to think otherwise. We are the world leader and letting this go does not bold well for our moral status in the world.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  104. Don in Denton TX

    266 times wasn't enough.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  105. Tom Holloway

    Not sure if it was a crime but do know it was stupid if they could not get the information they wanted after 50 times???

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  106. Michael Shane McGuire

    My son will not serve in any US military units if anyone is prosecuted for this. My family will turn our back on this country.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  107. Janice Fenton

    If you rob a bank because you desperately need the money, is that okay? Waterboarding is against all laws, and should be prosecuted.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  108. Sophia Shafi

    Yes, this constitutes a crime. Our country has got to stop claiming an exception for us, while criticizing everyone else.

    These crimes represent a moral failure. We must make radical changes, beginning with the prosecution of our very own torturers.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  109. laylah B Los Angeles

    It's not a crime until you hit 267. At least that's what the memos say.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  110. Rick - DC

    I don't know Jack. Would it be a crime if Jessica Lynch had been waterboarded 183 times?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  111. Jeff Bond

    No Jack, it isn't a crime if it isn't against the law. The Senate Intelligence Committe was well aware of what was going on and the opinion of the AG at the time was that this was not criminal. I've been through worse than these guys when I was in Basic Training. Give me a break. I hope our President see's the light and reverses his opinion, yet again, on whether he considers these tactics torture. We'll all be much safer.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  112. Angel Cordero-Collins

    Of course it is a crime. Even though it is a paradoxical thought, even a terrorist deserves a fair trial. We cannot surrender what is American for the sake of this interventionist foreign policy. We shouldn't have to debate this, we shouldn't make enemies like this abroad, as a matter of fact, we created the "them" in this case. Peace, Commerce and Friendship with all nations. Either the Founders are a gaggle of idiots and the policy-makers of today are political genuises or there is something very wrong here.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  113. Derek

    If it saves 266 American lives then I don't believe it is. All options should be on the table when it comes to intelligence gathering to save American and lives and defend our nation from harm. These men tried to kill Americans, what if on the 266 time they told the interrogator where Osama Bin Laden was?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  114. Lisa S.

    Hello Jack,
    I do find it interesting that we consider water boarding a crime when over 3000 Americans were killed on 9/11. Do this really equal out? Yes, America does not what to be known as a torture chamber but punishing people who were directly involved with killing our citizens should have no rights at all.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  115. Chris E

    I don't know if it's a crime or not, but it is wrong – and ineffective.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  116. Lynne from Cherry Hill NJ

    You bet it does !! I am happy that we have a President who can change his mind because I am ashamed that America has done something like this. Heads need to roll here and internationally. Coughing up these crooks will legitimate what Obama has said and tell the rest of the world that we respect human rights and do not expect special yreatment.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  117. Mark Cadiz

    Absolutely! America must be held accountable for its actions.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  118. John Jay Jr.

    "Debby April 21st, 2009 3:53 pm ET

    Does beheading and shooting Am. soldiers and journalists constitute a crime Jack? I didn’t hear anything about these terrorists dying while this so called waterboarding was being done."

    Should American Soldiers even be in Iraq???

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  119. Jan

    We have known that the Bush administration used torture against detainees at Guantanamo. Now it's on paper. It's about time to bring George W Bush and his gang of crooks to justice, jail them for the rest of their lives.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  120. Richard I. Ulman

    We should definitely investigate the people who approved the use of torture. We signed on to an agreement to do so and we need to show the world that we condemn torture and those who advocate it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  121. Dave Baughcum

    This is absolutely not a crime. I ask that those who think it is, go back to 9/11 and remeber how you felt that day. They should be lucky that did not get the death penalty. TIME TO MOVE ON AMERICA!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  122. Janet, Yosemite Gateway

    Waterboarding (torture) just ONCE constitutes a crime, period.
    Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield should be investigated and prosecuted for war crimes.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  123. James

    Who cares? If the government had the opportunity to do this with more [al Qaeda] captives, we might have 'found' Osama bin Laden by now.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  124. Tammy Moore

    If these people were ordered to do something and followed those orders, how can you fault them?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  125. bill from Pa

    I think we're near the point where being a republican constitutes a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  126. Marci-Joy from Vancouver, WA

    It's a crime if it goes against the Geneva convention, despite the fact that they are not technically a military power. It wasn't right for the Vietnamese to torture US troops, it wasn't right for the Nazi's to encamp the Jewish, gypsies and handicapped, it wasn't right for the US to encamp the Japanese during WWII and it isn't right to torture people.

    Who do we think we are? No wonder people hate Americans so much. The government thinks it can go into other countries, kidnap people and torture them, whether or not they have any proof of terrorist links. These people should be tried just like any other criminal. It's just ridiculous.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  127. Mark

    I am sure we can find some people that are still alive that helped intern the Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. Heck even a few of the 100,000 Japanese internees were shot and killed, maybe we can get some of the Roosevelt Administration for murder.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  128. Kelley (Amherst, MA)

    It is absolutely torture. I wonder, had this been done by Al-Qaeda to Americans, would we be questioning whether or not is considered torture?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  129. Andy

    I will agree to let the patriots who got information out of our deadliest enemies stand trial when the traitors at the New York Times do.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  130. Yoli

    Why don't you ask the families of those beheaded by these terrorists? Why don't you ask the families of all those killed on 9/11?
    Besides, I don't think this was done without the knowledge of the people in Congress so you would have to investigate a lot of people, don't you think?
    Yoli, NYC

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  131. Jeff Lavin

    Waterboarding an individual ONE time is a crime. 266 times means 266 counts. In the name of this country, prosecute for heaven's sake.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  132. Dennis North Carolina

    If Americans died because of these people than no crime was committed. if the treatment saved lives than no crime was committed.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  133. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Is not the first time Americans are participants of torture, it as the norm in Latin America, of course all trained by Americans at the School of the Americas, first in Panama and then in South Carolina.
    So it doesn't surprise me.
    Others that used torture are called war criminals, and some are waiting trial in La Hague.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  134. nancy mcneely

    I feel that the USA is responsible for fair humane treatment to all parties, torture is not to be tolerated, the Bush administration should be held accountable and prosecuted if found guilty. I remember hearing stories from my mother about how cruel the Japanese were to prisoners and I do not want that opinion to be held by others of us.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  135. Amir G.

    Does water boarding any American even one time constitute a crime? Yes. Then why should the same act not be criminal if a non-American human being is the subject?!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  136. Surefoot

    Are you kidding, 183 times, if it took 783 times to get one ounce of information that may help the country then it is worth it.

    Let us hope the things they do that are still confidential gain more intelligence, I suspect it would make water boarding look like a walk through Disney!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  137. Tom Shook

    Jack,

    The question isn't whether 266 incidents of waterboarding constitutes a crime, but rather is waterboarding itself an illegal activity? If America has a no torture policy, as it should, then this is criminal activity. If on the other hand the end justifies the means then the number of times a captive is waterboarded is of little consequence. It seems to me that there are better ways of obtaining information...what ever happened to sodium pentothol??

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  138. Anthony Okade

    Well, the torture was appropriate against those stupid killers, but the effectiveness of the method to get information from them is up for debate

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  139. ED in RI

    Jack;
    This country signed the international agreement, making torture, a crime! Of course we broke international law, and have suffered, terribly, in world opinion as a result. Obama, must stop his "protection" theme(s), and let the investigation deliver results.
    When the torture investigation is completed; He should begin a complete and new study of the events and actions leading up to 911!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  140. J. Butler

    We waterboarded these Al Queda punks 266 times??? Wow , we should have went ahead and finished them off.......Just like they did to our own people on 9/11.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  141. jeanmarie

    Yes, waterboarding is a crime. We, Americans, are supposed to be traveling the moral high ground. The world used to look up to us, and due to Bush's doctrine of torture, our reputationhas been tarnished.

    So many people are writing that the detainees deserve it because of 911. Our role as America, home of the free, is NOT to do onto others because they have harmed us, but to do the right thing. And torture is never the right thing.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  142. Anna Luhman

    Tourture is tourture, no matter how many times it occurs. Those involved, those who developed the program, and those who implemented it, from Pres. Bush on down to the Drs. and nurses who helped them do it should be prosecuted. For over 200 years we took the moral high ground and did not tourture. Then when faced with a huge crises in 2001 the administration decided to execute America's soul and moral authority and begin a program of tourture "to keep us safe". There are no excuses for that, and the law requires them all to be held accountable.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  143. Denise

    Of course it's a crime. The only people who believe it's not, are the ones who ordered it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  144. Jasmine in Germany

    Waterboarding anyone is inhumane and criminal, especially in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". There are better methods of getting one's way; for example: bribery. That seems to work with many politicians.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  145. Chip Wiley

    A crime? Not on your life! These 2 are murderous scum and deserve everything they got and more. Oh and by the way it appears that at some point in time (not sure,and don't really care, if it was the 1st or the 101st time they were waterboarded) the procedure apparently yielded actionable intelligence that helped to save innocent American lives.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  146. Sondra

    Of course its a crime. I taught my children that bullying was a bad thing, and my country has been seen for a long time as the biggest bully on the playground!! I'm proud of our new image and I hope every day that President Obama keeps using the intelligent people around him to make the best decisions for us all.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  147. rich sottilaro

    My comment is go for it!!!!!!!!!! Prosecute bush chenney rumsfeld all the operatives in the cia and especially all those lawyers who rewrote laws that have been on the books for decades!!! It amazes me that the country of Spain will prosecute those lawyers for criminal actions and our own country where the violations took place does nothing!! Not acceptable to me and I am sure many other americans who want to see indictments and fast!!!!

    rich

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  148. James, Charlotte, NC

    Jack, the crime is people always justify methods when they are not the ones receiving the torture treatment. We cry foul when American's are treated shamefully, and want war after that. The Laws are set and we should follow. No water boarding!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  149. Alton

    NO, Should have been at least 2,819 times, one for every soul that died during 9/11

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  150. michael armstrong sr.

    dear jack water boarding do you suppose some of those people on the twin towers jumping to there deaths screaming in pain from being burned alive might have a differnt prospective to water boarding ?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  151. John Clark

    Of course it is torture. Remember the US prosecuted the Japanese
    for waterboarding after WW2. We declared than that this enhanced technique was indeed torture. What changed?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  152. Dannie S.

    Dear Jack, I won't be able to see this but hell yeah it is a crime furthermore take Dick Cheney and waterboard him then drop him in that volcano in Alaska since he is in favor of it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  153. Rick

    Jack if it saves american lives I say waterboard as many times as necessary. Remember these guys cut heads off on TV.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  154. Rick in northern California

    When we torture it makes us no better than the terrorists. However if we should know for example people were going to be killed and the person we needed the info from had the info, we should allow it in small doses. Don't be fooled. The U.S. and other countries have tortured in every war we have had. Check the facts. We tortured in WWII and Korea and Viet Nam. In this day and age we are no different. The only difference was the urgency of the situation in which we were trying to extract information. What if we had intercepted the 911 hijackers, and got wind of what they were up to? Should we have tortured them to prevent 911? I say yes.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  155. Kyle in Chicago

    Are we forgetting that the people that we are waterboarding are some of the most dangerous people in the world? We have much more important issues right now (hello? recession) than to worry about some water in a terrorists' face.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  156. Jim Briscoe

    I Am a veteran & one of the first things the military tell you is that America doesn't torture P.O.W.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  157. Dawson, Minnesota

    It doesn't matter if it is a crime or not. Prosecuting those "responsible" doesn't work. The prime example is the Abu Ghraib incidents. When push came to shove the lowly Pvt. was thrown under the bus. Those truly responsible won't be charged and others lower on the totem pole will take the hit. It's a joke. Charge Bush himself.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  158. Mark

    Is waterboarding a crime?....

    Bush categorically denied torturing "detainees". How 'bout waterboarding Bush 266 times and let him decide if it torturous (most countries do consider waterboarding torture!)

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  159. William Huffman

    Waterboarding two al Queda members 226 times constitutes a crime. Six times a day is ridiculous for suspects. They are not officially declared as criminals. In addition, if these members have been waterboarded this many times without revealing valuable information, than waterboarding must be a failing method for snatching information from the suspects.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  160. paul

    Jack, one time is too many. If the speed limit is 50 mph hour and you were pulled over by a police officer for doing 51 mph , "you were speeding".

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  161. Ron Ouellette

    Jack,
    We are a Country of Laws, not men aren't we???? Well we have
    signed Treaties regarding the fact that we will NOT engage in
    torture, although I would like to personally tune up some of these
    enemy combatants, but, the fact is it is clearly ILLEGAL and in
    according to our laws those responsible for those actions should
    face a court of law, and, if it comes from up on high, then all of
    the culprits invovled should be brought up on charges violating
    those laws.
    Ron – Florida

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  162. Rick W.

    If someone did it to a captured CIA agent would it be a crime? Duh!

    The American people would demand action be taken. A crime is a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  163. Joseph Veneroso

    Jack, waterboarding ONCE is a crime. The authors of this policy need to be investigated and, if warranted, punished. Only then will future torturers think twice before permitting this violation of international treaties. The ghosts of Nuremberg are howling.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  164. donna lewis

    The man who masterminded 9/11 where 3,000 Americans burned to death? That guy? The man who chopped up the head of Daniel Pearl? Waterboarding was too easy for him. Don't try to understand today what was happening weeks and months after 9/11. If the government authorized these tactics there was a reason.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  165. Ken Scully

    Of course they should be prosecuted! I'm so sick and tired of hearing the former administration's mouthpieces, and other Republican spokespersons talk about how these "techniques" worked, or kept us safe, rather than address the larger question – WOULD YOU DO THAT TO SOME OTHER PERSON? Of couse not! It's wrong, plain and simple! Didn't your mommas teach you that – THE ENDS DON'T JUSTIFY THE MEANS!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  166. Mounir

    YES! Prosecute them! We're bringing pirates and terrorists across the world to try them in a court of law. These are "bad people".....when did the US constitution get amended to allow US officials to remain "good people" when doing bad things to bad people???? United States and most of the countries in the world have signed agreements to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture....let's do it! And hey, maybe prosecuting the Bush-people will act as a warning to future leaders that there are rules and there are consequences when these rules are broken!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  167. Dan in Florida

    Jack:
    Absolutely!! While I had mixed feelings regarding the Obama administration's decision not to prosecute the actual agents who carried out these torture acts, those in the Justice Dept. and the Bush admin. who deliberately fabricated their legal lingo 2-step to allow and encourage these acts should bare the full brunt of criminality. When in the world are we going to get any semblance of law and order in this country? Letting this go is inexcusable!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  168. Andriana

    Jack, I can't believe you're actually posing this as a question. I think we'd better check the pulse of anyone who thinks that this is NOT torture. What happen to values and morals in this country?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  169. John R. Brown

    Let's see, this guy was the mastermind of 9/11, and you are concerned? Why is he still alive? Three thousand of his victims are not!! Hmmm, 183 times in a month, 6 times a day, water boarding must not be what it is being sold as being. How about 184? What about the fact that a Congressional Committee was informed of the goins on and agreed? What about that?

    J.R.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  170. John Traver

    Jack, the information they wanted was so urgent. It was only 6 months after they captured KSM that they started to waterboard him.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  171. Bill from Cincinnati

    The answer is yes. As far as I know a crime is a crime and this broke our laws and international law. Remeber what ex-President Nixon said–If the President does it (or orders it), it is not a crime!! Well He was wrong. We must hold all responsible for their actions.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  172. Sean Black

    Forget 266 times, one time is enough. Waterboarding is torture, and therefore a crime. King Cheney should be the first to be tried.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  173. Charles Amico

    Jack, this is a simple one, if we don't look into crimes here, we don't have a Justice system of laws. If we don't defend the Constitution and our rights, we don't have any right to complain about anything our government does. It is clear to most any sane person, the Bush Administration violated laws and the Geneva Convention. If we don't investigate, other countries will eventually, if we don't have the courage.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  174. mike

    A crime waterboarding isn't even torture. We put our own aviators through tougher techniques in survival training. But let me be clear if these interagation practices save one american life it would be worth it.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  175. tina from michigan

    Nazi guards who were' just doing what they were told ' were tried for war crimes. I'm not sure what the difference is. A crime is a crime by definition not by how bad it might make a country look to the rest of the world. The law was written and people from our country broke it. To most of us this is pretty simple.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  176. Jim

    My rage towards al Qaeda finds waterboarding acceptable. However, we, as North Americans and NATO members, must take the high road and cease waterboarding.

    My stomache is turning as I write this. I pray that taking the high road does not bite us in the rear.

    James O'Neill
    Hamilton, Ontario

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  177. Cherie

    Yes, I believe it constitutes a crime. Mostly, I feel it is a crime against myself and the rest of the American people. And I want justice.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  178. Matt Reno

    Absolutely! They didnt do it enough. They don’t fit the Geneva Conventions guidelines.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  179. Dave, Ohio

    Hey Jack,

    I guess it depends on who we are dealing with. When they ( Al-quida) beheads our soldiers and other civilians and nothing is said by N.A.T.O why do they have the right to say it to U.S. I don't think it is right but neither is the tactics of the extremist islams

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  180. Jeremy in Boston

    It's a very clear crime even though the previous administration happens to think differently (Cheney's going crazy about this).

    The best solution would be to detain those persons who are responsible for the torture and treat them to some "walling".

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  181. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    Agree...that is the main unanswered question...how high are the recommandations going to go in that regard! The other question is what are the protection in place for people being asked or told to deliver goods that are against american values even if it is asked or told at the highest level!

    Jack,

    Listening to Romney! He still believe that we cannot just keep talking ...aren't we just starting to talk...!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  182. Michael

    Unfortunately freedom isn't free. Sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty. Like Spock told the Captain, "Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one." ...or something like that you know what I mean. Unfortunate but necessary.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  183. georgette

    I would be interested to find out who was there on those 30 days. Lets ask them just what prompted them to use this technique some 288 times in a 30 day period. Was it politically timed?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  184. Jim Blevins

    This is not only a crime, it is a crime against humanity. People who think this is OK fall outside humanity (perhaps - sadistic vicious animal). No one involved with this behaviour should continue to exist.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  185. Carmen in Pittsburgh

    If I were to subject those who authorized (legal?) waterboarding to just one session it would instantly become illegal and therefore a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  186. Luke

    Yes for the people that made the decision that it was OK. We are a nation of laws. If laws are not enforced, even in this instance, it is inconsistent and leaves the opening that the same thing could happen again. I would call upon the Congress to please enforce our laws related to this question and all questions–even economic. We are supposed to have checks and balances; or am I out to lunch on that one? The last administration flaunted the laws of this nation and should be held accountable–all of them, even at the top.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  187. Ryan Scarola, VA

    Yes. This enhanced interrogation constitutes a crime. Not only against our own standards in The United States – but, also if the United Nations which was established BY the United States and 51 other founding nations, finds cause for investigation that The Bush Administration may have broken the guidelines of an international agreement The U.S. has its signature on, that leads me to believe a crime has been committed. Even if it is determined that a crime was NOT committed, it is still our obligation to investigate the instances to the fullest extent. The Bush Administration is the bad gift that keeps on giving.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  188. Liz, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

    Is this a trick question, Jack? Obviously, it constitutes 266 occurrences of torture by the U.S. government, and it's sickening. Whoever is responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  189. Sharon Topchev

    No waterboarding does not constitute a crime but, cutting off an Americans head does!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  190. Ken p

    Yes it's a crime. How can we condemn other countries for what we have done. Whatever happen to America standing for human rights and following international law. It's a sad day to see where this country was taken under the the bush administration. We need to get back on the high road and out of the mud fields this country has been dragged into.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  191. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    Good Afternoon Jack,
    The short answer is YES. We signed not only the United Nations morotorium on torture as one of the civilized nations of the world, but we are also a party to the Geneva Convention. We swore as a nation to treat enemy combatants humanely and to not torture them. Interrogate yes, torture no. Not only are charges in order for members of the former administration, but myself and many others strongly beleive that Mr. G.W. Bush should face War Crime Charges at the Hague for Iraq.

    Keep up the good work!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  192. Blue

    Yes, it's a crime. And as an alleged "Christian" nation, we can't hide behind the idea that "They hit us first!" What goes around, comes around – where will it end?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  193. Linda Henderson

    Yes. If this country ignores these violations of U.S. and International Law...then just open up the jail cells, and close down the D.A. offices across the land. We will have no credibility when it comes to requiring obedience to our laws. This is not about looking forward, this is about respect for the rule of law, of which any sustainable future demands allegience.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  194. John

    Were these individual waterboarding, or were they sessions? I have a hard time believing that they would take the time to strap these guys to a boar, abuse them once and then say 'ok. take him back to his cell.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  195. joe hatley

    Hell yes it is a crime. I am ashamed that my government would perpetrate this activity. Thank God that our President Obama has changed this policy.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  196. MrTypo

    Of course they should let the investigation go forward. If we are not a country of laws we have lost what we stand for and that is unacceptable. If we are the ones shining the light on the situation it prevents the rest of the world from seeing us the way they did during the Bush years.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  197. Toronto

    I'm Canadian. President Bush was huge embarrassment to Americans. However, when your citizens were being beheaded on a regular basis, waterboarding is a minor offense. I only wish the government revealed their actions rather try to hide their intent.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  198. james Miller

    No, It is not torture, this is why we perform this interrogation technique on our own troops as a training method. Placing a caterpillar in with a detainee is also not torture. All this talk and discussion on this topic reveals how weak the American psyche is with respect to the peoples of other Nations. Americans have been coddled and babyed by one another far too long. Toughen up Americans...a stern hand is better than a smile and a hand shake. Many leaders have noted, that it is better to be feared than to be loved

    April 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  199. Franklin Halasz

    If waterboarding is a crime, 266 waterboarding instances would be a crime too. Why are you asking the public whether something is a crime? That's a matter for the Justice Department and the courts.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  200. Doug R, Clifton Park, NY

    Mr Cafferty,

    Water boarding one person, one time is a crime. NO ONE, not the President, Vice President or Attorney General, has the right to write a memo exempting themselves from the laws of this nation or the international laws of the world as a whole. May God have mercy on their souls, I don't.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  201. Jon, Michigan

    I grew up the son of an Air Force officer, I served the United States in both military and civilian capacities for almost thirty years. Is this a crime? I'll leave that to the lawyers but I will say that this makes me sick to my stomach. We're better than this.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  202. Mike R

    Jack,

    Who cares? These people are terrorists who would do MUCH MORE to ANY average American – regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity – than some excessive waterboarding. Let's do it a few more hundred times and drill it into their heads we won't put up with their extremist views.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  203. Gilbert B.

    I do not believe it constitutes a prosecutable crime.These were known al Qaeda operatives and they must be treated as such as necessary. Al Qaeda seeks to murder those who they deem to be kafirs or infidels - basically any and all non-Muslim governed and western societies.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  204. Bill Byrum

    I didn't serve 4 years during the Korean war to defend a country that
    treats people like dogs. They need to get the facts out, and let the chips fall where they may.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  205. Renato Riva

    It's like asking "Is the Pope German?"....or..."Do cows have udders?"

    It's time your country (I am Canadian) take responsibility for whatever certain people of authority have done, which is simply wrong, immoral, inhuman, and shameful. And for God's sake don't make excuses to withhold the prosecution of the perpetrators. For if you do will forever lose the respect you deserve from the world community.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  206. karri watson

    Every time torture was used it was a crime against humanity. Those who okayed it should be in prison no matter how far up the chain of crime it goes.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  207. Graci

    Clearly not. If it has been done to these people that many times then it can't be that bad. If it were a horrible experience then they would comply and do everything possible to not give CIA officials a reason to do it again. It hasn't killed these 2 members of al qaeda yet. Why do we care about the well-being of the types of people who are trying to kill us anyway? Let the CIA do their job.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  208. Matt in Athens, GA

    Yes it is a crime. I believe that any official involved in approving such interrogation "methods" should see some sort of federal prosecution. Furthermore, the agents who were excessive in using these "methods" should face a Court Marshall. We are Americans and we don't torture, nor should we tolerate it when it comes out that we have. Thanks Jack.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  209. Althea

    If water boarding kept us safe I would say yes. But of course we don't know if that happened. Plus it will depend on the constitution and how it was applied.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  210. Laurent iadeluca

    Forget the idea of waterboarding a human being 266 times... does waterboarding your dog or cat 266 times fit the description of torture by most of the worlds animal prtotection groups or the average civilized human being? Like Jesse Jackson would say, "The question is moot"!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  211. Andy from CA

    I've always thought that if you sign on to something, you have agreed to abide by the rules of what you signed and should be held accountable for what you signed. That does not apply if you worked for "W" of course. Since if your boss needed to be re-educated on the importance of abiding by international agreements, chances are that you needed to as well. But if America can speak from both sides of its mouth(we do not torture, only waterboard), the rest of the world can as well, and will now do so with impunity .This is another manifestation of how America has changed since 9/11. The rest of the world has not changed, only America.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  212. Roger Zoeller

    Hey Jack , Does hijacking 3 airplaines constitute a crime? I would water board them as many times as it takes in order to get information from those "TERRORISTS". They don't give a DAM about any of the lives they took. Roger from Meridian, Idaho.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  213. Everette Bailey

    Yes, it is a crime. If its done once, its a crime, if there is a law against it. I feel it is a moral issue and it is most definitely wrong,.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  214. Yash

    To Terence:

    So waterboarding is only a crime if we perpetrate is against our friends? Just what kind of friend are you?
    Your hypocrisy is alarming to say the least. The rule of law is what separates civilized people from mere animals. We should do well to remember that.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  215. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It's a crime to have fun at someone elses expense and to waterboard someone 266 times sounds more like someone was having fun.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  216. Rita, San Mateo, Ca

    Good God: They just killed 3000 people. Maybe we shouldn't do it but to prosecute-no Way!!!! As far as the Geneva convention is concerned, how many countries follow this. We are not perfect but why ALWAYS demonize the USA.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  217. Austin

    Waterboarding is a form a torture and illegal. All those who engaged or authorized its use should be punished according to the law.
    Anyone who thinks that torture yields good intelligence should ask John MacCain.
    As for me, i would say anything to stop the madness.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  218. Jane (Minnesota)

    It's against the Geneva convention - it's morally wrong at a minimum – the bigger problem with it for me in my opinion is it doesn't make our government actions any better than the extremists. The previous administration didn't seem to think the Constitution applied to them either though – so what can we really expect in good behavior? Apparently the studies that show the results from torture are generally unreliable weren't a consideration either.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  219. Isaac

    On the issue of waterboarding, I believe that it doesn't matter how many times it was done, it's wrong. The U.S. has always been the country against torture, how can anyone prove its use to be fair? It's about time that we practice what we've been alienating other countries like Iran for.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  220. B. Hill

    I am presenly looking at Romney on the Situation Room. This is is disgusting. I am also reading "The Dark Side," which is explaining just what is in the news today, so I wonder how these memos were supposed to be classified "top secret." I am truly an American, but right now I am ashamed. Romney says he's going to run to get the Republicans back in Washington, and bring some balance. Well, if what I am hearing and reading is true, the Republicans are torturers, on a level with Egypt. I pray we do not go down that road again.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  221. jack

    I don't care about water boarding known terrorists. I don't care how many times we did it or how much information we got or didn't get because of it.

    I only care that we restore financial control in the markets, we stabalize the economy, stop shipping jobs offshore/across boarder, boarder control, foreign policy in the new age of terrorism, unemployment, and our countries future.

    Jack

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  222. carol

    Absolutely it's a crime! No excuses. If we are barbarians, how can we expect other countries to treat their prisoners humanely? We need to respect our promises and obligations to adhere to the guidelines of the United Nations.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  223. RobC

    If it a crime to torcher animals, then there should be no exception for human torcher. Yes it is a major crime. Why don't we ask Michael Vick?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  224. thomas cargo

    Hey jack is killing 3000 innocent Americans on 9/11 a crime?? Is forcing people to jump from the top of the world trade center or burning them to death torture?? You people need to get your priorities straight!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  225. Judi Romaine

    Yes – my concern, though, is whether prosecuting is only adding more resistance/persistence in the world of right/wrong. South African gave us the best demonstration of how to bring reconciliation – forgive all enemies – this is much more in line with President Obama's world view -

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  226. sasha, Chicago

    Romney in La Jolla--the richest area of San Diego.

    What a surprise.

    He campaigned for the 'enhanced' interrogations.

    Dick Cheney- on FOX- yesterday stated that Al Qaeda was relatively unknown on 9-11.

    Did Romney know about Al Qaeda on 9-11?

    Bill Clinton did.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  227. David M.

    I guess we are expected to get information with cookies , milk and the word PLEASE!These people are hardcore!Their average lives are harder than anything we can do to them.Tough measures are needed to get anwsers form terrorist of this kind, so no 266, come on that was a cake walk to them, might have even been refreshing.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  228. RanDe

    If these two poor Al Qaeda members were able to endure 266 times a water boarding, it sounds like this procedure is extremely ineffective and should not constitute as torture at all.
    The only thing that this constitutes is that these two Al Qaeda members were given 266 forced baths or worse 266 forced baptisms

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  229. Casey New Jersey

    Waterboarding anybody 1 time is torture!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  230. CHRIS, Bx., NY

    Jack,
    Torture is wrong…..this was excessive torture…..now I won’t lie, had the waterboarding been done a limited amount of times, let’s say nothing past my 10 fingers, and 10 toes, I may have, (though not the moral high road), have turned the other cheek….. However, 266 times leads me to believe that this became enjoyable, and routine, as a way to let out frustration of not catching certain people, as in Bin Laden. Listen the cats out of the bag, and prosecutions should be handed out. We had the civil war, 600,000 men, (not counting children) killed…President Lincoln let the defeated confederate soldiers and defeated generals, return to their states and live free….We prosecuted those responsible for the holocaust and WWII atrocities….These are great examples, of moral high ground. We must maintain this ground whether at home or abroad…It doesn’t make us weaker letting Al Queda and the Taliban know we don’t torture….they still know that when they raise weapons in aggression to our soldiers they will be killed!! If captured they will suffer life in prison, or the death sentence….which to me, is justice enough!!! American justice. Lastly, we can’t sacrifice our code of ethics, or our constitutional laws…we must believe in them, and believe that the Fathers of this nation, created a supreme rule of law, that seperates us amongst other nations, and makes us great!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  231. Donn from Colorado Springs

    Until they have been "water-boarded" once for every life that was destroyed on 9/11, it won't be enough. Or, just maybe, 266 people are still enjoying their lives because of information derived from these animals.

    We are not talking about human beings here. Terrorists who take innocent lives to advance their political beliefs have forsaken their humanity and should be treated like the beasts they are.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  232. Dominick, Florida

    Every civilized nation in the world considers torture a crime against humanity. Unless we aspire to become a pariah in the world community we have no choice but to prosecute those responsible for waterboarding and other forms of toture perpetrated during the past few years, or we risk becoming indistinguishable from the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  233. Sandra Scarr

    Using torture techniques against anyone not only offends our national values, it compromises our spirit and pride to be American citizens. Tortune demoralizes the country and furtther endangers our own troops, who can be subjected to the same evil treatments.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  234. Marquis

    These American's who say its is ok to torture as long as it saves America lives, have become the same thing they HATE in the terrorist!!

    Have some Morals, be the CHRISTIAN nation most of us "CLAIM" to be!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  235. nol day

    Real Americans don't torture Jack! We need to punish ALL those who did. I think we should punish the Ollie Norths of the world, I don't believe "Just following orders" is an excuse. I also believe that we should follow to the top of who gave the orders, and those individuals should be punished to the full extent of the law. I don't like terrorist anymore than you do Jack, but if we don't take the high road, then its hard to tell the good guys from the bad. "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere" -MLK Thanks, Nol

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  236. Jeni G. SC

    First of all the media has this wrong! I know this because I have been listening and nothing he said was a contradiction. Though the President hires the AG, he should not have anything to do with the decision making of that department and to hear him say today that he is allowing them to draw their own facts and conclusions is exactly as it should be.
    I don't hear the President changing his mind, I hear the media creating this story. The AG should be independent of the WH and this is a great sign that that is exactly what we are seeing with this President and his administration.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  237. were

    no ifs ands or buts about it, but of course obama wont do anything about it. and if he doesnt how can be so sure that he wont do anthing like that during his term...

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  238. Louise in Alabama

    We already knew that the day of a true martyr's death is his wedding day. In Paradise and a wedding day on earth. Sept 11 is also Sept 23, Caesar's birthday. On the Julian Calendar. The one true Roman God. Waterboarding gave us very little. It did and does not take a genius to know what we need to know. We also knew about Massoud. Torture is sadistic. Intelligence is ignored.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  239. Miriam Stamm

    Yes, there is no other answer.And I don't want to hear it would constitute a problem with our national security or the 9/11 sentiment. MY COUNTRY DOES NOT TORTURE.PERIOD.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  240. Linda in Florida

    Torture is torture and it is a crime. Just because we do it doesn't make it any less of a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  241. Derek

    Do I consider this torture ... yes. Do I believe it could be construed as a crime ... yes. The real question is if you or any other American, and for that matter person around the world, would resort to torture knowing full well the information you would receive could save hundreds if not thousands of lives?

    Ethically, morally and generally its wrong, but if it could have prevented events such as 9/11 or the October 1983, bombing of the Marine Battalion Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 American servicemen, mostly Marines ... I do not see any one person saying no.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  242. sasha, Chicago

    Thomas in Washington DC April 21st, 2009 3:56 pm ET

    What would be our reaction if some other country waterboarded one of our citizens even once, no less 183 times?

    It is not if but when?

    What did John McCain think?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  243. Charles

    It matters because the Bush administration CREATED an atmosphere of fear and used it to push a failed NEO-CON strategy. The mere fact they delayed the investagations of 9/11to hide evidence linking Saudia Arabia to that crime, warrants a UN investagation and not a Obama administration investagation.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  244. walt sims jr

    Jack,
    of course it is a crime! Once was criminal but 6 times a day is plain cruelty. President Obama has done well to have exposed these heinous acts but was mistaken not to follow-up on investigations that could potentially lead to just prosecution by the perpetrators. Most likely these would include G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Cheney is the most vociferous proponent of procedure but there is also a federal judge that warrants an impeachment followed by a hefty prison term.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  245. Tino

    That is absolutely a crime. We may hate these people and what they represent but we broke the law BROKE THE LAW and that does not make it right because these are horrible murderers. We are a nation of laws and if we brake those laws those who are guilty must go thru the process of justice. We say "never again" over and over again. Got that? "Never again" we say it over and over again. What does that means? We do it over and over again.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  246. Marsha

    Every act done after Mr Bush declared that we would not be constrained by the Geneva Conventions has been illegal. No one called him on it and therefore he followed through. My jaw dropped when I heard him say that but it didn't seem to bother much anyone else. Yes, anything violating the Geneva conventions rules are illegal. Why do you think Cheney is out there screaming? He knows his tail is getting warm and may well catch on fire. He is covering it as well as he can. Of course he is as wrong as he was when he declared there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that the war would cost us nothing because the oil would pay for it. Yeah! Right!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  247. joe Vogel

    Jack....U B Good Guy!
    The president has stroked the world's mind brilliantly. He's always understood the violations that the previous adminstration has done to our constitution and our now tattered fleg thanks to the last eight years. Now Congress (finally); Spain; and the UN understand and are vocal in speaking out concerning the abomination of the previous white house.
    Brilliant move....check-mate to you "Roveies"!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  248. Marc, from Montreal, Canada

    Absolutely not Jack ! At least those thugs are still alive after been waterboarded. The have killed and were making more plans to kill many americans here and around the world. Between being killed and to receive some water, my choice is clear.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  249. grant Marcus

    Jack:
    Does one murder constitute murder? The Bush administration
    committed treason, and in our name, shamed every American.
    We focus on these two men. They are just the tip of the iceberg,
    (or pyramid) if we consider the photographs that came in from
    Abu Ghraib. We will never reach the bottom of this story until our
    government becomes transparent on this issue, and appoints an independent prosecutor to thoroughly investigate the past administration. –Grant in Ventura, California.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  250. Robert Schintler

    I suspect most of your viewers will say it was "criminal and inappropriate". I also suspect that if the question was asked, immediately following a terrorist attack on our soil, the answer would be "not criminal and VERY appropriate". It's all about timing the question.

    Robert
    Scottsdale, AZ

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  251. Marquis H. Atlanta,Ga

    When did it become Ok to lower your standards/ morals to to become the same thing we claim to hate and be against ?????

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  252. Claire in Kennebunkport, ME

    In a word, yes. It is also a crime that this great nation has fallen to such a level that the question even needs to be asked. I hope that, as these disgusting allegations come to light, the millions of Americans who have so willingly traded our national soul for the perception of security will finally be sufficiently outraged to demand accountablity from those who perpetrated, justified and ordered these atrocities. This is not a matter of right versus left but simply right versus wrong.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  253. Daniel Picarsic

    If we are to believe what they put in the memo is true. then they the people who was doing the water boarding must have been having
    revenge on the mass killings that's these so called terrorist did to the USA on 9-11

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  254. Mandey, Birmingham, AL

    Of course it's a crime. The sadistic psychopaths who authorized it should be tried and, if found guilty, be punished to the full extent of U.S. and international laws.

    Sen. John McCain, who was tortured, and CIA interrogators have all stated the technique doesn't work. The only information gotten is false – lies made up to stop the torture and send the torturers on wild goose chases.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  255. Douglas Ford

    I think waterboarding a terrorist once or twice ought to get tons of information out of that terrorist, however doing it over 200 times would just get the person to lie just to stop getting tortured. I think there are better ways to get the same information out of the person without resorting to torture. I am very much against the idea of waterboarding at all, it is horrible to think our country would sink so low as to do such things to another human being.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  256. miguel gonzales

    Most definately,yes,and those responsible for authoring and authorising such methods should be held accountable and face the consequencies of their actions.It is a wicked and cruel act, and the argument that these people are terrorist and were responsible for the deaths of many americans,does not make it right.There is no justification in doing wrong.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  257. John

    Absolutely. We did not question prosecuting WWII war criminals. I believe it was Japanese that were prosecuted for water boarding, among other things. The torture was supposedly approved at the executive level by Cheney and others. They need to answer for their crimes.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  258. Sheryl

    Clearly, waterboarding is torture. Do the Golden Rule test. Would you feel it is okay if another country used waterboarding and similar methods to extract information from captured U.S. soldiers?

    Isn't torture by definition a crime?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  259. JS

    It has been a crime since Nuremburg, the US was insistent that it be declared a crime of the worst kind. Also it does not work, and then there is the fact that it was good recruitment tool. It was found to have caused the death of many of our troops in Iraq in retribution. This in testimony from a former interrogator.
    Thank heaven we elected President Obama, all over Europe countries are now seeing the US in a better light, Americans now do not have to pretend to be Canadians overseas. Bush/Cheney were afraid to travel, perhaps they would have seen the burning efigies of themselves, ot gotten a few more shoes thrown
    JS in NC

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  260. Wendy

    One of the two men you mention planned the attacks that KILLED 3,000 of our citizens and wounded thousands more. What is worse-the mental anguish of your fellow citizens leaping in terror to their death from the World Trade Center, because they would rather take a chance and die that way than be burned alive, or waterboarding, which although mentally scary, did not physically harm either of these two men mentioned in said reports? Sick to death of all the hoopla the media has drummed-up about this. What I would like to see de-classified is the REST OF THE STORY. What attcks against our fellow citizens were thwarted because of the information we received?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  261. Anthony...Swedesboro, NJ

    When it comes to torturing these varmin, I'm torn. It's a very grey area when our most heinous enemies are in our grasp and can provide information preventiing another September 11. They're certainly not going to give up any information over tea and biscuits and torture will probably elicit misinformation. It's a rock and a hard place. Let's stick to our values and improve our security measures. It's the only alternative.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  262. shan

    was killing so many americans a crime on 9/11? then punishing these scumbags are not only not crime but indeed necessary to get the rest of them.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  263. Fred Dean Weaver

    Yes Its war crimes And everyone knows President Bush % Dick Cheney lied & said America dont Tor ture and both should be punished.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  264. Bill in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    Jack,

    I guess the answer depends on whether you are Islamic or Christian. While Christians preach "Turn the other cheek.", Islam preaches "An eye for an eye." and it's my recalection that there were over 5000 Americans killed in 9/11 by al Qaeda. As far as we all know, water boarding hasn't killed a single one of them (yet).

    Bill
    Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  265. Bill Adelman

    Ask one of the widows from WTC1 or 2 if they feel this was too harsh

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  266. Bill in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    Jack,

    I guess the answer depends on whether you are Islamic or Christian. While Christians preach "Turn the other cheek.", Islam preaches "An eye for an eye." and it's my recollection that there were over 5000 Americans killed in 9/11 by al Qaeda. As far as we all know, water boarding hasn't killed a single one of them (yet).

    Bill
    Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  267. Chris

    Dear Jack,
    Maybe we should ask the victims of 911, dead and alive, it should have been 267 times. I don't like violating human rights but nobody asked them( the victims). Maybe each of the 3000 victims should get there turn. Torture? Or justice?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  268. Lloyd

    Hey Jack, after being shocked 266 times on private parts of my body, I yelled out "yes I was the second gun man on the grassie knowl". Then the person interegating me reminded me that wasn't the question.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  269. Ray

    Of course it's not a crime.
    It's not even torture.

    Anyone who suggests otherwise is a fool or a traitor.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  270. frankie

    The Republicans are going to have to get used to a President who has the ability to change his mind. Smiling when you shake someones hand, revising your thoughts, things like this are not crimes. Torture is a moral as well as an international crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  271. Joe

    If it saved even one American or allies life, then it doesn't matter what some politician or lawyer calls a crime, it would be justified. For those who want people prosecuted, I sincerely hope that none of you have a loved one in harms way and I sincerely doubt that you knew anyone who was slaughtered on 9/11. Part of the biggest problem with this world today is we have too many politicians and too many lawyers dictating to us what is politically correct instead of using common sense.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  272. Jacqueline Mongeot

    Yes, it does. Waterboarding 266 times constirute a crime., Any form of torture anytime, anywhere on anyone is not acceptable. I am a survivor of WWII German occupation in France and saw first hand the results of the Gestapo torture. At the end of this nightmare we all thought that torture would be a barbaric method of the past; we all said "never again". I certainly never thought that it would be in America 60 years later that we would have to discuss it. The guilty ones are those who ordered torture; they should be sent to The Hague.
    Jacqueline San Diego CA

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  273. Robert Paquin

    Was it a crime!!!!! The invasion of Iraq was a crime, hence everything that followed is a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  274. Paul Maidan

    It doesn't matter how many times it was done. If waterboarding itself is a crime....then yes. If not, then no. Although the number of times it happened is indicative of a sick and twisted policy, it really boils down to one thing: is it a crime? And if it is, the people who allowed it must be punished accordingly. America will never have any credibility if it condems other nations who torture people but doesn't punish its own for doing the same thing. As Obama rightly said, no one is above the law. I would think Mr. Cheney's demonic grin might be sligthly less ferocious today upon hearing the news about possible prosecutions.

    Paul in Toronto, Canada

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  275. Jamie

    If you had your choice between getting waterboarded or getting shot in the head, which would you take? Obama gets celebrated for shooting three African boys in the head, but Bush is inhumane for giving terrorists a bath.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  276. George S. Porter

    Torture is torture. The legal opinions were specifically designed to provide U.S. sanction to conduct torture and horrendous crimes against humanity.

    This is a nation of laws. Legal "opinions" cannot overturn and subvert the clear legislative record reflecting this nation's abhorrence of concentration camps, torture, and barbarism. The fabric of the nation is weakened by the blatant disregard of domestic laws and international treaties. The Bush administration went to great lengths in an attempt to dance around the laws and values which are of the core of this nation.

    The only way to heal this gaping wound, and prevent if from continuing to fester internationally, is to excise the rot. Turning a blind eye on this blight, this cancer of the body politic, is to willfully endanger the health of the nation.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  277. Doug, Atlanta

    Jack, let me answer your question with a question. Should 2 terrorists with knowledge of your and 265 other American who are going to die in a future bombing be waterboarded if they give up the information? or would you rather respect their rights and die?
    Sorry, that was 2 questions..

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  278. kevin

    i'm sick of hearing the crybabies in washington and the rest of the country.i say torture all those that are enemies of america and get rid of liberal americans too!!!!!!!!!!as for the united nations,if iran's leader can call israel racists and still the un does nothing about it.so why do we even care what the un thinks.the un is a joke and so is america anymore.we need a revolution!!!!!!!!!!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  279. kenneth

    If they had tortured these two criminals simply to make them suffer for their crimes I'd quietly in my heart say damn good they deserved it. But to practice torture to elicit information effectively narrows the distance between a free and fair society and a tyrannical oppressive ideology and should – for no other reason than that – constitute a crime.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  280. Andrea Coronado

    If an American soilder would be waterboarded 266 times, the American public would demand the immediate prosecution of those responsible. But since the individuals that were waterboarded were members of al Qaeda, former CIA officials justify it by saying that it was a matter of National Security.

    I would like to see the day where politicians and government officials stop hiding behind the pretext of "National Security" and start owning up to their actions.

    Waterboarding any human being, member of al Qaeda or not, 266 times is a crime; and the criminals responsible for this should be prosecuted.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  281. Tim

    Are you kidding me Jack, why are you even asking! It definitely constitutes a crime! If people won't reveal information to us then we have no right to commit torture to find it out. Its difficult for me to think any nation with such high moral standards would be willing to do such a thing. My question would be "why shouldn't we charge the people responsible?" they've on tarnished what America stands for. We need to be the better people, just because they would do it to us or other countries would do it does not mean America should. Its entirely disgusting. I'm ashamed that President Obama even mentioned the idea of not bringing these people to justice!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  282. Louis

    Jack, when did America lose its moral compass? We prosecuted German officers for crimes that were no worst than waterboarding. I am appalled that Obama wants to let these crimes go unpunished. Must we lose a war to have our bad guys pay a price?

    Louis
    Miami

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  283. Dianne from Paducah

    Yes, If it was the other way around, the US would want to prosecute them as war criminals. Two wrongs dont make it right. And just because the US does it, does not make it right

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  284. OCromwell, Fairfax, Va

    Can you advise on what soil the event took place? Has that legitimate government proscribed the activity?

    The question is difficult to answer without first establishing venue (soil/legitimate government) because the Judges from that Country get to consider crimes committed on their soil – unless the topic falls under the UCMJ.

    Example, an American civilian vacationing in Okinawa is charged with rape on Okinawa soil. If the activity is a crime, he will be tried on that soil. He can kick and scream, cry to his daddy in the US, but he will not get a hearing before any US Judge/Court.

    On what soil did the alleged actions take place?

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  285. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    According to such diverse sources as John McCain and the Geneva Convention, waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime. And I would certainly prosecute those who tried to torture logic into saying it wasn't.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  286. garrick

    hi jack
    if Bush and Cheney gave the orders NO its not,the GOP will not say it was a crime,just like they say NO to everything else.their always right even if their wrong.
    clearwater,fl

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  287. Ken-Long Island

    Although I would ban the use of torture in most cases, I would not ban it for all cases. If it were shown, verifiably demonstrated, that an individual had crucial information about some operation that was about to occur in the immediate future, or was happening in the present, I would allow any and all methods that would extract information that would lead to the saving of lives. Only the President could authorize the use of these methods. I think the use of torture would be justified to save one innocent life or a million innocent lives. Even the most basic ideals have limits, and to my way of thinking, this is one of them.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  288. Jonathan Whittle

    Well, as I see it. In these days, such trivializations of the notion reflects false certainties of dogmatic minds. Followed by, what? Ignorance of the assumptions that underlie the commonly accepted view of waterboarding? Why does it seem like the world runs on individuals pursuing their self-endeavors. You see, Einstein did not construct his theories under the order of capitalism yet we run on greed. Despite the fact that, the doctors harm those people yet they choke upon their immense responsiblities and their devastating factors that cast stones on today's society, that being said, where is the justice? It would be completely igornant to do otherwise if not done correct so YES. The Geneva Convention rules shows good reputation for taking decent care of our prisoners. To treat them as humans. That one guy was waterboarded 6 times a day for 30 days! I believe that the people is responsible for the orders, the doctors should be charged.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  289. Mark in Michigan

    I read all of these responses that include references to 9/11 as if by mentioning the 'twin towers' any actions taken thereafter is justified.

    And what about the 100,000 civilian deaths (documented) since the war began. They don't seem to matter when compared to the 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

    No wonder the rest of the world hates our guts.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  290. Ed Cardona

    The only crime that was committed was on Sept 11th. What is wrong with these government, did we forget about all the people that died because of 'fanatics' like this one. Wake up America, this is not a game we are in. These people hate us and are going to kill us at every opportunity. 'Waterboarding' ??? They should of drowned him.

    ed c.
    Land o'Lakes, FL

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  291. Ken

    Yes, Jack, it does constitute a crime. Waterboarding is a form of torture. The United States government has stated repeatedly that it does not torture. The United States government has signed the international convention against torture. I would say that waterboarding 2 people 266 times certainly constitutes torture. If we are to be the moral leader in the world and to re-establish our credibility in the world, we must investigate and prosecute those responsible for these acts of torture.

    Ken
    Long Island, NY

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  292. mike brandow

    Water boarding isn't part of the America I fought for in Vietnam although I have heard tell of questions being asked of groups before a several were thrown from choppers. I have never accepted preeminent strikes as part of our history and feel this is at the very least a crime as worthy of prosecution as water boarding.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  293. Brian in Oregon

    If the information recieved form waterboarding kept a dirty bomb from going off in your town, or the next airliner your child was on from hitting a tower or even the 7/11 down the street, would you feel the same?Being the person standing on higher ground may make you feel next to god, but also makes a good target, hopefully they get you not me.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  294. Glenn, Belgium

    The UN should not have the right to pressure the United States ESPECIALLY when it comes to our National Security...more to the point–if this technique is what COULD save a U.S. city from destruction by obtaining critical intelligence at the right time–then it doesn't matter how many times its done to save LIVES. Here's the bottom line: waterboardering doesn't kill - acts of terrorism kill. Abuse of the technique is wrong but, the option needs to be available..........

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  295. Pam

    President Obama must show the world that America will not tolerate torture now or then.
    Hold the Bush Administration accountable or the world will forever hold us criminally liable of torture and murder.
    You cannot let Bush destroy Americans' goodness by letting him and his mad men get away with torture.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  296. Marsha

    My comment is awaiting moderation. Actually that is moderate. I did not use the term "sadist" "creep" or "concentration camp guard" even once.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  297. Purnell, Kankakee, IL.

    Yes it's 266 individual crimes that the Bush Administraition commited, plus all the other torture crime too. We really had the Nazis in the Whitehouse, the CIA, and all of the Civilians Contractor including those nutcase murders at Blackwater.

    We did not learn from the past so we allowed Bush and his coporate buddies to do it over the last eight years!

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  298. Derek

    Jack , it is a crime . I do not want to see soldiers nor agents punished but the people who gave the orders at the top should be punished . Wake up America , the world no longer wants to see privilidged white men throw rocks and and hide their hands . If Bush geve the orders , he and his family deserve the same LOVE that they showed Saddam and his sons !

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  299. danny

    No Jack . . . i thought everyone knew, to constitute a crime it takes 267 separate acts of torture on two detainees .

    April 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  300. Louise in Alabama

    What Dick Cheney said about AQ being relatively unknown is a crime. We knew in 1992 from Fadl who defected from Bin Laden of an organization called al-Qaeda. He told about the sleeper cells, etc. and that they were behind the shooting down of our helicopters in Somalia. This investigation was run by Dan Coleman. Cheney should be prosecuted.

    April 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |