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. The south lost again

    What will these wingnuts say when the enemy starts torturing our servicemen and women?If we can legally do it,so can they.

    January 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Marc

    @ Mike, Syracuse NY – Stop playing the fear card. That is not the case. The case is that people like you and me thinks that the USA are the greatest country in the world, and if by any chance its not its just a matter of time before it becames it. But while you trade the country's moral and ethics for a sense of safety, I prefer to keep the moral and ethics with the country.

    January 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Linda in MS

    To Mike in NYC

    Yes I supose you would be interested in"hearing Holder's views on hate crime and speech, as if you didn't already know". These "odious laws" might prevent racist scum like you from spreading your disease.

    January 15, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Dan, TX

    Should Iran torture Americans who it thinks might be CIA agents (whether they are or not)?

    We torture, why shouldn't they?

    Indeed, why don't we waterboard Madoff? He deserves it, and we want the truth right?

    Any American might be collaborating with terrorists. How can we know unless we can torture them to find out.

    January 15, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Ken in Dallas

    What a bunch of savages. It's naive to think that it's ok to torture as long as it's not happening to you.

    If the government can torture anybody, the government can torture anybody. That includes you, your friends, your family, anybody. If you doubt that, you don't understand why there's such a thing as the Constitution.

    There's no such thing as torturing only the guilty, or torturing only people we hate, there's only "we do torture," or "we don't torture."

    January 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. tony

    Geneva conventions do not apply to terrorists. There is a price for our freedom, over 3000 people paid that price on Sept 11th. How do we argue for the rights of people that took away the rights of other individuals.....what happened to the rights of the people that were murdered on Sept 11th.....that's right, they are not here to argue for themselves. Sept 11th attacks will happen again if we start to disregard our safety.

    January 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Norom

    Irritated in Fl January 15th, 2009 11:21 am ET

    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. .....

    Irritated in FL-you have described exactly what Bush has done to this country.

    January 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. raul

    @ Kelly

    So u are saying our troops and the terrorist are the same . Give me a break !!!!!

    January 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. New Yorker

    Torture? Keep in mind the one who is subject to the posibility of torture is only tortured if they themselves permit it. All they have to do is "talk" in order to prevent it. I would bet that those who are against the use of waterboarding would be all for it if it was a method of preventing one of their children or some other loved one from being killed.

    January 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Marc, the possibility of terrorists getting a nuke or at least a dirty bomb is very real. there are dozens of unaccounted for tactical nukes ifrom the former USSR and hundreds of poulds of 'missing' uranium. The Geneva Convention applies to uniformed POW's, not terrorists. In fact, there are very few international rights for people like Al Queda. They certainly are not entitled to protection under US laws. Whatever method of interrogation works best, whether it's truth drugs, waterboarding or being forced to listen to Barry Manilow 24/7 should be used. Does anyone seriously think they are going to 'like us' if we treat them nice? They want to destroy us, and I'd rather destroy them first.

    January 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    Wow, my comment really struck a nerve.....

    The fact is, plain and simple, the terrorists are going to do whatever they choose to do whether we waterboard them or not.... they are already attacking innocents, decapitating prisoners, etc.... does anyone honestly think they will stop that if we stop waterboarding? Terrorists are NOT part of humanity.... they are less than human and deserve treatment accordingly, especially if it will save lives, as it has already done.

    Play nice, liberals.....

    January 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Thomas

    I just have a simple question:

    How would you feel if an American were waterboarded by a foreign entity?

    Would you accept this as just aggressive interrorgation or would you consider it torture?

    Why would your answer be different if the players were changed?

    January 15, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Caligirl

    January 15th, 2009 11:05 am ET

    Mark Cross Junction VA

    Wait till the brilliant Obama has to reopen quantanimo bay prison after American is hit with another terroritst act. Water torture will be a cake walk to these radicals. But what can you expect from a president that has consumed cocaine, supports hamas radicals and middle name is Hussian.


    I beleive Bush did coke also. Yep, spoiled lil rich boy with a straw in his nose.

    January 15, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Fredi

    To those of you who like to play with numbers:
    We have sacrificed 5,000 of our best men and women to avenge the 3,000 killed on 9/11 – and we have killed several 100,000 civilians in the process – even for the cynics that see people only as numbers, the numbers don't make sense.

    January 15, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Peejay

    RH – I agree, torture is about animosity. Anyone who thinks torture results in security probably thinks rape results in sexual gratification.

    And anonymous blogging brings out the best in everyone, obviously.

    January 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. Erik S.

    Yeah, and I'm sure they will stop doing it now that the guy who is trying to get a job says it's torture. I'm sure when it comes to us having to get information from a hardcase that waterboarding won't be used. Man, you people will believe anything as long as it's printed and you agree with it. Yo know, like warrantless wire tapping just happened with this administration. It's amazing how ignorant you all really want to be when reality is staring you in the face. But go ahead and be led, since you don't want to think on your own, i'm sure it's an easier life than it is to face the realities of today's world.

    January 15, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Ken in Dallas

    This isn't really a discussion about who the targets of torture may be, it's about whether or not we limit the powers of government in a specific way.

    Does the government have the power, the people's permission, to commit acts of kidnapping, arbitrarily and indefinitely imprison people, and to torture people? Never think that you can grant government this kind of power, yet control how it would be exercised. There's bo such thing as giving government the power to kidnap and torture just those people over there that we hate.

    If government can do these things to anybody, then they can do these things to ANYBODY.

    January 15, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Paul in SC

    If we are attacked again who will get the blame??? It won't be George Bush!!!!

    January 15, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. dave

    What active imaginations people have. Or is it the opposite - you're just rehashing tired plots from bad TV shows?

    "If we capture someone who knows where a bomb is, shouldn't we torture them to find out where it is?" Uh, OK. We're going to threaten physical violence against the person who is willing to die to set the bomb off? Sounds real effective to me. I can really see someone thinking, "You know, I was going to die to get my place in heaven, but I'll give it up because I'm so sick of this waterboarding." You people are clueless. Also, how do we know that they know where a bomb is? If we were able to inherently know information like that, then why not just inherently know where the bomb is and cut out the middle man? The unavoidable fact is that we can't know information like that. It is fear and insecurity that kicks in and skews rational thought into thinking that "anything is acceptable" to protect ourselves.

    Some hard facts in life: Bad things happen. There is no way to prevent bad things from happening. We can reduce the chance of bad things happening by trying to live harmonious lives. Bombs have been, and will be, set off by people from foreign lands, and even people from our own country. There is no amount of torture that will prevent this fact. We simply choose to be a people who have principles, or we join the ranks of people like the Spanish Inquisition and Nazis. It used to be that people would rather die with honor than live fearful and cowardly, but I guess that day is gone. Bravery and torture are incompatible. Ponder that reality for a bit.

    January 15, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Jordan - San Marcos, TX

    I'm still baffled at how much now it seems that to be a Republican you have to suspend all ethical or moral decency and happily endorse torture and war criminality. This barbaric attitude is exactly what we fought to stop in Germany and Japan in the 40's...every so-called American that supports any amount of torture cheapens the blood of those who died so that we could have a decent society. Do any GOPer's still wonder how they lost the election? It should be obvious.

    January 15, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. DP

    At 1/20/13 – Can we move the boarder fence from Texas to SF first? Need to make sure the happy friendly people cannot get out into the regular population of angry disgruntled Americans.

    January 15, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Samuel

    Exactly Mr. Holder – waterboarding IS torture and not in accordance with our American believes – we American DONT torture – we are better people than this. Thank you for your service to our nation Sir.

    January 15, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Tired of W, but not much longer...

    Several "people" have pointed out that the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists. That may be true, but is everyone in Gitmo a terrorist? Hard to say, because they have not been found guilty of anything! I hate terrorists as much as the next guy, but it's wrong to round up a bunch of suspects and torture false confessions out them. Terrorism is not a mortal enemy. It is a method. The only way to defeat it is to live without fear.

    Those who live in fear of hypothetical attacks: The terrorists have already beat you.

    Those who approve of torture: You are no better than terrorists.

    January 15, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Deborah Black

    Torture does not produce valid information. People make up things to get the torture to stop. That is how so many mistakes were made and how the USA went after the wrong people after 9/11. America is no better than our enemies if we use all thier tactics in retaliation.

    To me it is the same reason I am against the death penalty. I would rather have 10 guilty men go free, than have one inocent man put to death.

    Americal has rounded up thousands of innocent people and tortured them and their children. Have you been paying attention? If, someone had you in custody and brought in your 10 year old son and said they would castrate him in front of you if you did not talk, what would you do? I would say anything I thought would stop them, true or not.

    I know this happened because someone who was there told me.

    January 15, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Titov Sang the Blues

    Ok, guys, it's time to put up or shut up.

    If you truly feel that torturing prisoners is an acceptable means of investigating potential crime, answer these questions as honestly as you can:

    1. Should the US formally withdraw from the Geneva Conventions?
    2. If torture is, in fact, morally and legally correct, then should the US formally announce that we will now torture prisoners during criminal investigations?
    3. Why do think that if the torture that has apparently occurred at Gitmo and other secret locations is perfectly fine by you, why do you feel that the Bush Administration has tried so valiently to conceal that they were doing this to begin with?

    January 15, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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