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Argument: Waterboarding is highly valuable in the war on terror

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Supporting evidence

  • Vasko Kohlmayer. "The Case for Waterboarding". September 29, 2006 - "It is not easy to grasp the thinking of senator McCain and others who seek to ban this practice in the light of its immense value in our fight against terror. Take, for instance, the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed captured in Pakistan in March of 2003. One of the masterminds of 9/11 and al-Qaeda’s operational leader at the time, he possessed a wide-ranging knowledge of the network’s plans, logistics and personnel. Unwilling to share it voluntarily, he was subjected to forced interrogation. As resilient as he was and defiant, he held out until the interrogators decided to proceed with waterboarding. Two and a half minutes into the procedure, a broken Mohammed begged for relief. Stunned and shaken, his extensive confession amounted to nothing less than a treasure trove of priceless intelligence.
This case is unusual not in how quickly the waterboarding worked, but how long Mohammed was able to withstand it. Two and a half minutes is by all accounts a record of sorts, as most subjects usually break down inside a minute. CIA agents who undergo this procedure as part of their training rarely last more than 40 seconds. This despite the fact that they are in a friendly environment and know that death is not an option.
Although waterboarding is normally employed as the last resort and the frequency of its use kept secret, it has been made known that so far it has worked every time it has been tried. Thanks to its extraordinary efficacy, we have been able to obtain a great amount of critical intelligence that would have otherwise remained inaccessible. With the help of this information we have captured al-Qaeda operatives, stopped deadly plots, and saved many innocent lives. One of the fruits of Mohammed’s confession, to give one example, was the thwarting of a conspiracy to fly an airliner into the Library Tower, the tallest building in Los Angeles."
  • "Waterboarding Is Torture, Says Ex-Navy Instructor". Washington Post. November 9, 2007 - "Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) contended at the hearing that sometimes severe techniques need to be used in emergencies and against the nation's top enemies, such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks' alleged architect, who was subjected to waterboarding in CIA custody. Franks said that Mohammed experienced just 90 seconds of waterboarding and gave up important information about al-Qaeda."

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