Author/reporter Mark Bowden of "Black Hawk Down" fame had a piece in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer "In defense of waterboarding," that is well worth a read.
No one should be prosecuted for waterboarding Abu Zubaydah.
Several investigations are under way to find out who ordered the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, apparently an effort to cover up evidence of torture. Leaving aside for a moment the wisdom of destroying the tapes, I'd like to take a look at what was allegedly done to Zubaydah, and why.
When captured in Pakistan in 2002, Zubaydah was one of the world's most notorious terrorists. The 31-year-old Saudi had compiled in his young life 37 different aliases and was under a sentence of death in Jordan for a failed plot to blow up two hotels jammed with American and Israeli tourists. The evidence was not hearsay: Zubaydah was overheard on the phone planning the attacks, which were then thwarted. He was a key planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was thought to be field commander of the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors on the USS Cole, and was involved in planning a score of other terror attacks, successful and unsuccessful. He was considered to be a primary recruiter and manager of al-Qaeda training camps.
He was, in short, a highly successful, fully engaged, career mass murderer. Think back to those pictures of workers crouched in windows high up in the burning World Trade Center towers, choosing whether to jump to their death or be burned alive. This was in part Abu Zubaydah's handiwork.
Read the entire thing.
The inconvenient truth about this entire debate about waterboarding is that the people that it is used on are mass-murdering terrorists. Too often, politicians, pundits and lawyers gloss over the fact that these guys want to kill lots of people. Instead, we're treated to sob stories about how these poor guys at Gitmo were poor shepherds in the wrong place at the wrong time ... with AK-47s.
These men are far more dangerous than the guy who robs the local 7-Eleven and should be treated as such, even though too many liberal Democrats and blinkered human rights lawyers do everything they can to blur the profound difference.