CNN shows heavy bias in waterboarding question to Obama, gets facts wrong

Posted by: ST on November 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm

President Obama was asked by CNN “reporter” Dan Lothian (bio here) about his thoughts on the GOP candidates’ positions on the practice of waterboarding. Here’s how he set it up (via Real Clear Politics):

“Last night at the Republican debate, some of the hopefuls, they hope to get your job, they defended the practice of waterboarding which is a practice you banned in 2009. Herman Cain said, quote, ‘I don’t see that as torture.’ Michele Bachmann said that it’s, quote, ‘very effective.’ So I’m wondering if you think that they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible?” CNN’s White House correspondent Dan Lothian asked President Obama in Hawaii.

Talk about a set-up question!

Here’s the video:

President Obama’s instinctive answer, after pausing for a few seconds, was to joke that it was a “multiple choice question, isn’t it?”

First things first: The practice of waterboarding was effectively stopped in early 2003, and was “officially banned” under the administration of George W. Bush a few years after that (bolded emphasis added by me):

Nov 2, 2007 1:25pm – For all the debate over waterboarding, it has been used on only three al Qaeda figures, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials. As ABC News first reported in September, waterboarding has not been used since 2003 and has been specifically prohibited since Gen. Michael Hayden took over as CIA director. Officials told ABC News on Sept. 14 [2007] that the controversial interrogation technique, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex as shown in the above demonstration, had been banned by the CIA director at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes. Hayden sought and received approval from the White House to remove waterboarding from the list of approved interrogation techniques first authorized by a presidential finding in 2002. The officials say the decision was made sometime last year but has never been publicly disclosed by the CIA.

Secondly: It’s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be successful. We would still be searching for OBL without the use of waterboarding. The LA Library Tower plot likely wouldn’t have been stopped without the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, either.

So, in addition to clearly being in the tank for Team Obama, Dan Lothian doesn’t have his facts together, either. Imagine that.

Gird your loins, my dear readers. Expect lots more softball, nudge nudge, wink wink “are the GOP candidates all nuts or just stupid?” questions from so-called “objective” MSM journalists in the coming weeks and months as the push to re-elect “The One” kicks into high gear.

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36 Responses to “CNN shows heavy bias in waterboarding question to Obama, gets facts wrong”

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  1. Jeff says:

    What I find odd is they call it wrong and immoral, But I went through training and was water boarded twice, along with a bunch of us going through Evasion School

  2. Sukuma Twende says:

    It is wrong and the US is a signatory to the Geneva convention which prohibits it. The US hanged WWII Japanese officers for it. And, so what that Jeff underwent the torture, it is still illegal. That others might use the technique does not mean the US has to. As for OBL, he was found through cellphone eavesdropping and not through waterboarding. And re LA Library Tower plot you don’t know if they used the technique; you surmise it as “likely”. Not good enough.

    The technique’s effectiveness has been refuted so many times (why would Jeff been trained to resist it?) that your assertion that “it’s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be successful” is simple wishful thinking.

  3. Dave B says:

    This reporter obviously hasn’t been properly indocrinated in the proper way to ask a loaded and biased question. Rule #1: Pretend you are an actual unbiased journalist. Rule #2: Pretend that you’re actually asking a question. Rule #3: If at all possible, try not to drool on the President’s shoes during the interview.

  4. Carlos says:

    President Duh also stopped forestry in the northwest and has seen ocean levels go down thirteen feet since the beginning of his reign presidency.

    In other words, no one should check on actual history until he and his LSM and academia minions have completely erased what actually happened and when and replaced it with “facts” that are much more to his being the little tin-horn god he really is.

  5. Zachriel says:

    Waterboarding is torture and illegal under U.S. and international law. Justifying it with weak evidence of utility doesn’t change that.

    CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment:

    “For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

    “Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”

    Signed by the President of the United States, December 10, 1984.
    Ratified by the United States Senate, October 27, 1990.

    Furthermore, during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the U.S. tried, convicted and executed people for the crime of waterboarding. The perpetrators claimed it was important to the success of their war effort, and would save the lives of their soldiers. Should these convicted criminals be exonerated?

  6. Finrod says:

    Zachriel, asserting that something is torture doesn’t make it so. Furthermore, your claims about the ‘crime of waterboarding’ are bunk, because you’re using the same word to describe something entirely different.

    We waterboard our own troops as part of their training. Go tell SERE that they’re violating law, and I’m sure their lawyer, when he’s done laughing at you, will slap your bogus argument around like a punk-ass bitch.

  7. Great White Rat says:

    Is this the same Zachriel who showed up here a few weeks ago insisting that nothing that happened since the French Revolution was really valid history? And we should all look at the world through the lens of 1789, no later? So what’s he doing quoting an order from 1984?

    If Zach were consistent, he’d be defining torture by what was considered torture in 1789. But I guess using more modern definitions is OK when you leftists find it convenient, right, Zach?

    Unfortunately for you, this modern defintion doesn’t (pardon the pun) hold water for you. It doesn’t mention waterboarding by name, and there were numerous legal opinions that it does not constitute torture. I trust those opinions much more than anything that eminates from an ideologue who doesn’t know his left from his right.

    As for the Far East Tribunals, that was for a much different type of waterboarding. Torture should be defined by what is done, not by what label is given to it. The OWS crowd probably considers taking a shower to be waterboarding and therefore torture. That doesn’t make it so, not to any rational person.

  8. Zachriel says:

    Finrod: Zachriel, asserting that something is torture doesn’t make it so.

    It’s torture because it meets the definition of torture, not only the common meaning of the term, but the specific definition agreed to by the United States.

    Great White Rat: Is this the same Zachriel who showed up here a few weeks ago insisting that nothing that happened since the French Revolution was really valid history? And we should all look at the world through the lens of 1789, no later?

    We would never make such a claim. You must be misremembering.

    Great White Rat: So what’s he doing quoting an order from 1984?

    It’s not an order, but a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate.

    Great White Rat: If Zach{riel} were consistent, he’d be defining torture by what was considered torture in 1789.

    “Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren….” – George Washington

    Great White Rat: It doesn’t mention waterboarding by name, and there were numerous legal opinions that it does not constitute torture.

    * An act which causes severe pain or suffering.
    * For such purposes as of obtaining information or a confession.
    * No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification.

    The Americans agreed to outlaw such acts. Do the words of the Americans have meaning?

  9. Zachriel says:

    Finrod: Zachriel, asserting that something is torture doesn’t make it so.

    It’s torture because it meets the definition of torture, not only the common meaning of the term, but the specific definition agreed to by the United States.

    Great White Rat: Is this the same Zachriel who showed up here a few weeks ago insisting that nothing that happened since the French Revolution was really valid history? And we should all look at the world through the lens of 1789, no later?

    We would never make such a claim. You must be misremembering.

    Great White Rat: So what’s he doing quoting an order from 1984?

    It’s not an order, but a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate.

    Great White Rat: If Zach{riel} were consistent, he’d be defining torture by what was considered torture in 1789.

    “Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren….” – George Washington

    Great White Rat: It doesn’t mention waterboarding by name, and there were numerous legal opinions that it does not constitute torture.

    * An act which causes severe pain or suffering.
    * For such purposes as of obtaining information or a confession.
    * No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification.

    The Americans agreed to outlaw such acts. Do the words of the Americans have meaning?

  10. Great White Rat says:

    Once was enough. Subjecting us to a double dose of your lack of logic might be considered deliberate inflcting of mental suffering, and we might have to swear out an arrest warrant for you on a charge of torture.

    As to the substance:

    You must be misremembering.

    No, I remember very well. I refer everyone to this thread from about a month ago. In it, Zach tries to claim that the Nazis are a right-wing group despite their socialist (and therefore undisputably left wing) views, by explaining his usage of ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing:

    The terms date to the time of the French Revolution.

    Then there’s this:

    It’s not an order, but a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate.

    Fine. You do not dispute my central point – that nowhere does it mention waterboarding.

    As for the Washington quote, that’s fine. Show me again in there where it mentions waterboarding, or any other 20th/21st century interrogration technique?

    And finally, you again list the defintion of torture, but fail completely to prove waterboarding falls within that classification. As Jeff points out above, our own troops get waterboarding resistance training. Your opinion does not make it torture. You may think hippos are fish – that does not make it so. Your typically left-wing (2011 definition, BTW) view is that the rules are whatever suit you at the moment, not what is written.

  11. Zachriel says:

    Zachriel: The terms date to the time of the French Revolution.

    The terms Left Wing and Right Wing do date from the time of the French Revolution, and *still* denote egalitarianism on the Left, and support for hierarchies on the Right.

    Great White Rat: As Jeff points out above, our own troops get waterboarding resistance training.

    Yes, and Martin Luther was a flagellant.

    Great White Rat: And finally, you again list the defintion of torture, but fail completely to prove waterboarding falls within that classification.

    Of course it does. Waterboarding is like being drowned. It causes severe suffering, both mental and physical. If it didn’t, there would be no point of using it.

  12. Zachriel says:

    After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: “I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure.” He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. “Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning,” he replied, “just gasping between life and death.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201170.html

    In other words, waterboarding has been treated as a war crime by the United States.

  13. Great White Rat says:

    And once again Zach misses the point I made in the prior post: there are degrees of waterboarding, and what we practiced in the last decade is not the same as what happened in WWII. As I said before, he may choose to call a hippo a fish, but that does not make it so. Objective facts, not his personal whim of the moment, are the arbiters of truth.

    Actually, I suspect Zach’s not missing the point so much as he has no response. It’s the same technique he employed in the prior thread in his zeal to contend that National Socialists were not, um, ‘socialist’.

    As for your other statement:

    Do the words of the Americans have meaning?

    It’s not the words of Americans per se that I would question. But I’d certainly not trust the word of an American liberal on any matter of importance.

    The last letter of Sirik Matak is a prime historical document attesting to the terrible price that can be paid when one puts trust in liberals.

    LINK – you’ll need to scroll. the letter is about halfway down the web page.

  14. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat And once again Zach misses the point I made in the prior post: there are degrees of waterboarding, and what we practiced in the last decade is not the same as what happened in WWII.

    Actually, it’s very similar. The water torture creates the sensation of drowning without actual drowning. Making someone feel like they are drowning was determined to be a war crime.

    Great White Rat It’s not the words of Americans per se that I would question.

    Good. Then you want the Americans to live up to their commitments under the Convention on Torture.

  15. JT says:

    What the reporter meant to ask:

    “…Michele Bachmann said that it’s, quote, ‘very effective…. So I’m wondering if you think that they’re IGNORANT, APATHETIC, or EEEEVIL?”

    That’s what he really meant. Dumb left wing idiot thinks we won’t notice…

    Journalism students as a group are the dumbest people on any given campus.

  16. Great White Rat says:

    We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I’ll stand with the legal minds whose carefuly considered opinions were the basis for carefully controlled waterboarding that is not torture. Zach will stand with the left-wing (2011 definition) zealots who want to deny us tools to defeat islamic terrorism. I’m done with this discussion.

  17. Zachriel says:

    Great White Rat: I’ll stand with the legal minds whose carefuly considered opinions were the basis for carefully controlled waterboarding that is not torture.

    We just read the written promises of the Americans, and wonder if they will abide by them.

  18. H Hazell says:

    Interesting debate here on this one! Jeff, thank you for your service and contribution. I’ve no first hand knowledge, only details from friends and colleagues who, like Jeff, attended or operated SERE training. Although I respect John McCain as one who well knows torture, I believe he is wrong in calling waterboarding, as done by the US, a form of torture. Although not but nearly 100%, those I know with experience through US SERE training do not regard it as torture. As an aside, I believe the Geneva Conventions specifically exclude those we waterboarded from protections. Additionally, they were not privileged to protection under our Constitution. This is war, not a traffic stop.

  19. Zachriel says:

    H Hazell: As an aside, I believe the Geneva Conventions specifically exclude those we waterboarded from protections.

    While suspected terrorists are not considered Prisoners of War, they are still accorded the protections due to all human beings, including due process and prohibitions against cruel and inhuman treatment. Under the Geneva Conventions, either someone is a Prisoner of War or a civilian to be accorded the appropriate protections. If they are alleged criminals, then they are to be tried by an appropriate tribunal. No one is outside the law.

  20. Zachriel says:

    H Hazell: This is war, not a traffic stop.

    Of course, everyone who tortures claims necessity, including the Japanese who were tried and hanged after WWII. In any case, the U.S. has promised not to subject prisoners to inflict severe pain and suffering. Do the words of the Americans have any meaning?

  21. H Hazell says:

    Zachriel: Having only the opportunity to read the descriptions of the act of waterboarding as conducted by the Japanese and having only the opportunity to read the descriptions of the act of waterboarding as conducted by the US on these three, I conclude that though identical in name, they are quite different in deed.

    As to the Geneva Conventions, I believe they regard these terrorists as unlawful combatants and do not provide a category for them when captured other than retaining the status (or non-status) as an unlawful combatant and they are thus unprotected by the Conventions.

    As for how US forces treat these people on the battlefield once they are in custody, there is no comparing to any other combatant force in history. We do treat them humanely. And if one of ours fails to do so, they are dealt with severely under our law. Given the viciousness of this enemy, incidents where one of ours reciprocates are so blessedly rare that they get massive press as well as swift and deliberate application of the force of law.

    I respect your knowledge of and passion for this issue but, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the character of waterboarding as done by US interrogators.

  22. Lorica says:

    Japanese who were tried and hanged after WWII.

    You are comparing people who skinned alive US Prisoners of War to people who are getting water dumped on their head. Shut the Front Door Zach!!! How stupid are you. Damn!! – Lorica

  23. Zachriel says:

    H Hazell: As to the Geneva Conventions, I believe they regard these terrorists as unlawful combatants and do not provide a category for them when captured other than retaining the status (or non-status) as an unlawful combatant and they are thus unprotected by the Conventions.

    Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. In all circumstances, prisoners are to be “treated humanely”. The Convention on Torture makes this even more plain.

    H Hazell: We do treat them humanely.

    Waterboarding is not humane treatment.

    Lorica: You are comparing people who skinned alive US Prisoners of War to people who are getting water dumped on their head.

    After WWII, waterboarding of Americans was prosecuted as a war crime.

  24. redgypsy says:

    Both things involve water, but they are different.
    What the Japanese did (the “water cure”) was force water down a prisoner’s mouth (by clamping their jaw open and forcing a funnel down their throat) until their stomach was so full they began vomiting and then doing it again.
    Waterboarding as done by the US puts cellophane over the prisoner’s face and pours water over them.
    The sensation may be similar, but think about which one you’d rather have done.

  25. H Hazell says:

    Zachriel: Although I find no application for the Fourth Convention, the Third Convention is applicable for the purpose of assessing individuals for protections. I previously wrote that the convention precludes protection to these people. As I have just reread the Third Convention, I stand by my previous statement. They do not meet the criteria specified for protections in the Third Convention.

  26. Zachriel says:

    H Hazell: Although I find no application for the Fourth Convention,

    Unlawful combatants are covered under the Fourth Convention and are to be treated “with humanity.” Every person is covered under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, and the Convention on Torture.

    redgypsy: What the Japanese did (the “water cure”) was force water down a prisoner’s mouth (by clamping their jaw open and forcing a funnel down their throat) until their stomach was so full they began vomiting and then doing it again.

    That is incorrect. Per testimony from the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, they were strapped to a board, inverted, then “a towel was fixed under the chin and down over the face. Then many buckets of water were poured into the towel so that the water gradually reached the mouth and rising further eventually also the nostrils, which resulted in his becoming unconscious and collapsing like a person drowned. This procedure was sometimes repeated 5-6 times in succession.”

    The idea is to create the *sensation* of drowning. As torture is defined in terms of the experience of suffering, any technique that causes extreme suffering is torture under the definition the U.S. has agree to. If they found a way to directly input pain into the brain without any physical cause at all, it would still be torture. Indeed, it would be the worst form of torture as it could be continued eternally.

    The Americans just have to decide what kind of people they want to be.

  27. H Hazell says:

    Zachriel: The Conventions do not address unlawful combatants but do provide a means to “define” who are not protected persons, by specifically defining who are protected persons. The Conventions spell out criteria for norms, attributes and behaviors to define protected persons. Those who remove all doubt that they do not fullfill those norms, attributes and behaviors are not protected. So, I propose we agree to disagree on the meaning of the verbiage in the Conventions, the character of waterboarding as performed by US interogators and the status of those persons the US did waterboard.

  28. Lorica says:

    After WWII, waterboarding of Americans was prosecuted as a war crime

    ???? And people were hung for that??? Give Me a Break Zach!!! Let me see the proof!!! – Lorica

  29. Lorica says:

    Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention;

    No Zach, Hazell is correct, these people are not covered by the Geneva convention. Due to the criminality of their actions the GC is silent regarding them. – Lorica

  30. Zachriel says:

    Lorica: ???? And people were hung for that???

    Yes, when they did it to American GI’s, it was considered barbarous and a war crime.
    LINK

    Inflicting “severe physical or mental pain or suffering” is also a crime under U.S. law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C, § 2340).

    Lorica: Due to the criminality of their actions the GC is silent regarding them.

    No one is outside the law. Either they are lawful combatants or they are civilians. If they are criminals, then they have the right to trial before a properly constituted tribunal. In any case, torture is outlawed in all cases.

  31. Lorica says:

    The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding,” he told reporters at a campaign event.

    Alittle English comprehension would be nice Zach. This article does not say that anyone was hung for waterboarding. They were hung for murdering our POWs not waterboarding them. Learn alittle history. There were alot worse things done by the Japanese to American POWs. Quit trying to twist things to your view. For a “pulitzer prize” winning site they sorta suck and you shouldn’t use them as justification for your agrument.

    No one is outside the law. Either they are lawful combatants or they are civilians. If they are criminals, then they have the right to trial before a properly constituted tribunal. In any case, torture is outlawed in all cases.

    Really??? Here again you attempt a “black and white” argument which doesn’t really fit. The GC covers the treatment of lawful soldiers and civilians, it does not cover terrorists who invade a country to do harm to the lawfully constituted government. They are neither lawful combatants or civilians. They are terrorists who invade countries to do harm to the afore mention people groups. Also the majority of these terrorists were treated incredibly humanely, it is their leadership that underwent these “tortures” and if you want my honest opinion they should have just been put down like the dogs they are. We could have gleaned almost as much from their surroundings and other confiscated items. – Lorica

  32. Lorica says:

    Ohhh Also waterboarding the way we do it is far and away different from the way the Japanese did it. Which has been mentioned to you before but you choose to ignore it. Just because they have the same name, doesn’t mean they are the same. As far as I know no one has died from our waterboarding, the Japanese can’t say the same. – Lorica

  33. Zachriel says:

    The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding

    Lorica: A little English comprehension would be nice

    Yes, please read more carefully. The Japanese were convicted of war crimes, *including* the crime of waterboarding.

    Lorica: The GC covers the treatment of lawful soldiers and civilians, it does not cover terrorists who invade a country to do harm to the lawfully constituted government.

    That is incorrect. The Geneva Convention covers unlawful combatants, such as spies and saboteurs who operate outside the laws of war.

    Lorica: if you want my honest opinion they should have just been put down like the dogs they are.

    Except that people are often accused of crimes they never committed. Everyone has the right to due process, and no one is outside the law.

    Lorica: Ohhh Also waterboarding the way we do it is far and away different from the way the Japanese did it. Which has been mentioned to you before but you choose to ignore it.

    Except your description was wrong. American POW’s testified to the water cure. The Japanese interrogators did not drown the prisoners, but simulated drowning.

  34. Lorica says:

    Lorica: A little English comprehension would be nice

    Yes, please read more carefully. The Japanese were convicted of war crimes, *including* the crime of waterboarding.

    But not EXCLUDED too waterboarding!! No one was hung for waterboarding.

    That is incorrect. The Geneva Convention covers unlawful combatants, such as spies and saboteurs who operate outside the laws of war.

    Which are not terrorists!!

    Except that people are often accused of crimes they never committed. Everyone has the right to due process, and no one is outside the law.

    My comment was exclusive to those we waterboarded. People we know are terrorists.

    I am out of this discussion Zach because you always define your side of the discussion with such broad terms but nitpick everthing everyone else states. I don’t even know why I continue to reply to you as it just isn’t worth my time. So enjoy your life, as always we will just have to agree to disagree. – Lorica

  35. Zachriel says:

    Lorica: My comment was exclusive to those we waterboarded. People we know are terrorists.

    Whatever happened to due process? In any case, the Convention on Torture outlaws torture under any circumstances. Do the words of the American mean anything?