January 15th, 2009
10:37 AM ET
14 years ago

Holder: Waterboarding is torture

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/15/art.holder1.cnn.jpg caption=" Holder said Wednesday Waterboarding is torture."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General designate Eric Holder said Thursday "waterboarding is torture" and a violation of the Geneva Conventions during his
confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Watch: Holder on waterboarding

Filed under: Eric Holder
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Chad

    I can't believe that we are even debating this in the 21st century. Torture 1. does not work. 2. It puts us on the same level as those thugs throughout the world who do it. We are in effect, no better than they are. 3. It is against our own laws and international law, and there's a reason for that. It goes against everything we stand for as a country. In the past few years we've seen our government use torture and suspend habeas corpus. These are two fundamental issues that have struck at the very heart of our constitutional democracy. Terrorists attacked us in order to change our way of life. In trying to "protect" us from future attack, our government has played into their hands. If we allow these policies to continue, we have essentially lost the "war" no matter what happens on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    We must stop adhering to this myopic view that laws can be circumscribed when they are inconvenient. If we do not want to abide by them, we should change them and officially withdraw from the Geneva agreements. Until then, let's adhere to the laws that form the bedrock of our society.

    January 15, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Mike in NYC

    I'm a lot more interested in Holder's positions (as if we didn't know) on "hate" crime and "hate" speech laws. These will have a huge, and negative, impact on civil liberties. Expect said odious legislation to get fast-tracked come Jan. 21.

    I don't expect the GOP to push this issue too much, though. We all hate "hate," right?

    January 15, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Marc

    Kevin in Ohio – January 15th, 2009 10:47 am ET
    'Playing "nice"'? FYI, 'playing nice' is what separate us from them.
    THEY are the ones that think that ANYTHING goes, if in the end your enemy is destroyed. THEY are the ones that mocks about what WE do to NEVER EVER sink to their level. THEY, the terrorists all over the world.
    Not US, good law abbiding people.

    January 15, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. SAD SAD

    WOW !!
    I just cant believe how unbelieveably naive some people could be. We were attacked by terrorist and the only way we could defeat them is to turn Americans to terrorists too. JNR, Kevin and Obama victims...
    I was thinking you guys should know better but its obvious now from your comments that its far from it.
    Torture experts said never give any credible information, and to this point with all the torture and the likes 8 yrs bin laden is still out there. If it worked why didnt Bush get bin laden b4 now?
    We need to work on our morals to gain international support. Imagine Egypt bringing Israel and hamas to the table ....where is the greatest country on earth...USA?

    January 15, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Another bad nominee

    You little "never served a day in your life gutless wonders" who want to appease the world and go back to the days when we were so "loved " need to look a few hings up.

    We were so loved during Clinton we had 8-10 of our US installations bombed all in the name of "love".

    The FIRST WTC, Khobar towers, USS Cole etc, etc, etc "we love you wonderful moral people" boom, boom, boom.

    In a perfect world they would only kill or attack liberals and slaughter them DUE TO LACK OF INFORMATION, but sorry sheep, it doesn't work like that and I want them tortured and I want to listen to THEIR phone calls to even save your sorry gutless, hollier than thou lives.

    January 15, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. JJ

    Is it torture? Yes. Is it necessary to protect the civilians of this country and others? Yes.

    And btw, these terrorists we're doign this to do are not military POWs. The rules laid out by the Geneva Convention apply to POWs.

    Let me ask, if you knew waterboarding someone you KNEW had information about an attack that was planned to kill civilians, would you allow it? I know I would!

    January 15, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. chelle

    It amazes me the insular outlook of some Americans. Understand this – if you can commit torture to obtain faulty information, then so can other countries. The US will be in no position to demand anything from anyone when an American is captured. If "Obama Victim" "Kevin in Ohio" and others can't understand the moral issues of committing torture, surely they can understand that what goes around comes around.

    January 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Matt

    "We need to be sure the Attorney General does not bend his views in any way that is partisan or political," Specter said.

    Oh, the irony. Where was this concern when it was Gonzalez and Mulkasey blatantly lying about waterboarding and whether what we had been doing to prisoners constituted torture? I'm thinking this sudden scrutiny of whether Holder would act in a partisan manner is partisan in and of itself. STFU and confirm him. The GOP's got no moral high ground on this one.

    January 15, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Joe

    And what does Eric Holder know? What makes him an expert on torture? Torture has its merits when it comes to preventing another 9/11. How many of you lost family and freinds at the twin towers? I did and i say by any means necessary we should stop attacks on the United States. Most of this country's problems can be attributed to the lack of backbone and political correctness and not being willing to do what needs to be done. If we play nicey nice with the terrorist then they will think there are no ramifications for their actions. Besides Eric, the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorist since they are not in uniforms. Thank You George Bush and Dick Cheney for your resolute and determined actions to keep this country safe and may God Bless you and your families.

    January 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Kyle W

    Hey RH, maybe we can just ask them nicely? I mean I'm sure if we do that they will just come forward with everything right? Its not like we are asking these terrorist directions to the closest min mart. Next time we get hit with a terrorist attack, don't go and start screaming Bush caused this to happen, its because of people like you we can't get the info we need to keep this country safe.

    January 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. CA Indie for Obama

    we will overcome stupidity in this country when kevin ohio leaves for canada

    January 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Fredi

    Wasn't one of the justifications for invading Iraq that Saddam was an evil tyrant and TORTURED people? Does that now give other countries the right to invade us and liberate us from our tyrants?

    January 15, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Robert

    Guess what? The U.S. never ratified the Geneva Convention thus rendering it meaningless in regards to U.S. law.

    January 15, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Irritated in Fl

    Torture is killing thousands of Americans and making their loved ones suffer a lifetime without them. Torture is holding a nation hoistage and making it's occupants live in constant fear. Torture is having our resouces drained by a war with terrorists that is costing americans, their homes, jobs and much much more. Torture is watching your great nation being brought to its knees by a bunch of camel jockeys. Torture is watching your own people defend these heathren and trying to keep their own families fed while stubbornly keeping their pride. Torture is wondering why a country based on christianity can't follow the word of the bible and live by " an eye for an eye". These war criminals should have been placed before a firing squad rather nthan pampered, fed and coddled for years. Can anyone else see the decline in our nation? Are we really just going to hand our country over to our enemies? Barack Obama will do just that.

    January 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. still searching for true equality in america

    the problem with torturing suspected bad guys.. is that not all suspected bad guys are bad,,, sometimes people lie for their own personal agendas.. lets say .. for example.. no-bid billion dollar contracts. i hate liars.

    January 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Nice!?

    I have no sympathy for terrorists, just as I have no sympathy for rapists, molesters, and murderers. Torture them I could care less, if you love them so much once they are released into society why dont you give them a room to live in for a while, would be a NICE thing to do.

    January 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. LIP

    Very well said...ditto.

    January 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. AnaB

    Yeah, we saw how well the water boarding worked didn't we? Didn't get any information now did we?

    It's not about playing nice, no one thinks we should just sit down and have a talk with them, it's about the fact that we are a nation of laws and one of our laws is that we do not torture. That's what separates us from them.

    So all of you saying they are bad, they deserve it, would it then be ok for them to do the same to you if you were captured if they think you are bad and deserve it?

    January 15, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Marc, Matt, Maggie, etc. So if Al Queda got a nuke and was going to set it off in a US city, and we captured someone who knew where it was, you guys would want us to be 'good guys' and let millions die rather than waterboard to get the info and stop it? Would you feel the same way if your child, or spouse, or parents were in that city?

    January 15, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Thank you President Bush

    So waterboarding is torture – what of it?

    If Americans were polled the day after 9-11 and asked if they thought we should not use waterboarding as a tool to track down the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11, the overwhelming majority of Americans would have said – WHATEVER IT TAKES – JUST DO IT.

    President Bush and VP Cheney have kept America safe for 8 years since 9-11 precisely in part for their aggressive and controversial methods, Americans have gotten complacent; we feel safe; we no longer are fearful of another attack. So, as a direct result of President Bush's success, the very people who critiicize him once cheered him for his tenacity. I hope that Mr Obama only does as well as Mr Bush in keeping us safe. God forbid, if we are attacked again, then all the things we have criticized President Bush for, we will urge President Obama to do the very same things. Let us not be hypocrits - and let us remember and thank President Bush for succeeding at the most important part of his job – keeping us all safe.

    January 15, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Matt

    @ Irritated in FL

    And another thing. Our society believes in and our country was founded on the fundamental human and civil rights that require someone be tried in a fair and just manner, and considered innocent until proven guilty. The people in Guantanamo Bay were NEVER tried. But apparently, you've got the inside scoop on every single one of them. I'll warn you that withholding such information could be considered treason, so you better come out with it all now before Obama releases the prisoners in order to respect their basic human rights.

    January 15, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. chelle

    It is also interesting that those advocating torture believe it works. Torture results in faulty information, given under extreme duress. To think that such information would be highly useful is what is totally naive. Torture has been used for centuries to get people to admit to anything. Ask the people tortured at the orders of Henry VIII. None of those confessions are credible – most have been disproven. Wow – yeah great way for the USA to gather intelligence!!!

    January 15, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. RealityKing

    It doesn't matter, Holder isn't going to catch many terrorists anyways...

    January 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. boered1

    @irrated in Fl

    Yet again a memeber of the radical religious right shows that they are neither right nor religious.. your bible quote "an eye for an eye" was reputed by Jesus Christ himself.. he said he was the new way the old law is gone that he brings the new law (he was meant the new testament is the new covenant ie a Christian follows the New Testament a Jew the old testament) Then he went on to say that if you are hurt to "turn the other cheek". So a REAL Christian would not say an eye for an eye he would say Turn the other cheek. Now I am not suggesting that we, as a country, turn the other cheek. first we are NOT a Christian country, (although we were founded on Christian ideals Jefferson, Hancock and Washington specifically stated that they ahd no intention of founding a Chirstian country) second the government has the responsibility to defend ourselves against attackers. I am saying though that if you want to spout nonsense fine do so but TRY TRY to spout it correctly

    January 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. richard

    When the terrorist join the Geneva Convention, then we can stop waterboarding. Never met a democrat that didn't side with the terrorist.

    January 15, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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