The Instigator
chevy10294
Pro (for)
Losing
23 Points
The Contender
Vi_Veri
Con (against)
Winning
51 Points

Water boarding for interrogation is Constitutional

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/30/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,838 times Debate No: 4284
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (17)

 

chevy10294

Pro

Hello

First off let me say that this debate will only be about if water boarding for interrogation is Constitutional, not weather its right.

Water boarding for interrogation is Constitutional, because there is nothing in the Constitution that says anything about interrogation. Its says- "Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."(http://www.whitehouse.gov...)

THis is the only part that says something remotely close to water boarding or interrogation. First, water boarding isn't cruel or unusual. We aren't going to let the prisoners die, because we want the information that they know. Water boarding will not let them die.

Second, it isn't a punishment. Punishment is 1. the act of punishing.
2. the fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
3. a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
4. severe handling or treatment.
(http://dictionary.reference.com...)

We are not punishing the solders. The punishment will come later, if they go to court or revive orders from being apart of a terrorist group.
Vi_Veri

Con

"Water boarding as it is currently described involves strapping a person to an inclined board, with his feet raised and his head lowered. The interrogators bind the person's arms and legs so he can't move at all, and they cover his face. In some descriptions, the person is gagged, and some sort of cloth covers his nose and mouth; in others, his face is wrapped in cellophane. The interrogator then repeatedly pours water onto the person's face. Depending on the exact setup, the water may or may not actually get into the person's mouth and nose; but the physical experience of being underneath a wave of water seems to be secondary to the psychological experience. The person's mind believes he is drowning, and his gag reflex kicks in as if he were choking on all that water falling on his face.

CIA members who've undergone water boarding as part of their training have lasted an average of 14 seconds before begging to be released. The Navy SEALs once used the technique in their counter-interrogation training, but they stopped because the trainees could not survive it without breaking, which was bad for morale." (Quote Julia Layton of Duke University)

My opponent's definition of punishment:

Punishment is 1. the act of punishing.
2. the fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
3. a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
4. severe handling or treatment.

Water boarding is obviously severe handling or treatment.

Constitutionally, water boarding is cruel and unusual.

"In Furman v. Georgia (1972), Justice Brennan wrote, "There are, then, four principles by which we may determine whether a particular punishment is 'cruel and unusual'."

The "essential predicate" is "that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity," especially torture.
"A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion."
"A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society."
"A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary."

Water boarding is unquestionably degriding of human dignity and arbitrary because it has been proven to fail in supplying correct responses from the victim countless times. Therefore, it is punishment, and it also is arbitrary for it doesn't give proper results.

And yes, torture, is by American law, illegal.

1. http://usinfo.state.gov...
2. http://library.uchastings.edu...

3. "The federal anti-torture statute is formally known as Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the U.S. Code. The law consists of three sections (2340, 2340A, and 2340B), which define the crime of torture and prescribe harsh punishments for anyone—an American citizen or otherwise—who commits an act of torture outside of the United States. (Domestic incidents of torture are covered by state criminal statutes)"

Torturing anyone, is in fact against the Geneva Convention.

"Fourth Geneva Convention safeguards so-called "protected persons," most simply described as detained civilians. Detainees must at all times be humanely treated (Geneva III, art. 13, Geneva IV, art. 27). Detainees may be questioned, but any form of "physical or mental coercion" is prohibited (Geneva III, art. 17; Geneva IV, art. 31). "

And yes, this is enforced, as you have Guantanomo Bay where soldiers were court martialed.

"Most CIA officials say water boarding is not torture, although many see it as a poor interrogation method because it scares the prisoner so much you can't trust anything he tells you. Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a POW during the Vietnam War, says water boarding is definitely a form of torture. Human rights groups agree unanimously that "simulated drowning," causing the prisoner to believe he is about to die, is undoubtedly a form of psychological torture. The international community recognizes "mock executions" as a form of torture, and many place water boarding in that category. In 1947, a Japanese soldier who used water boarding against a U.S. citizen during World War II was sentenced to 15 years in U.S. prison for committing a war crime." (Julia Layton)

To conclude, yes, water boarding is cruel and unusual punishment.

Regards,

Vi
Debate Round No. 1
chevy10294

Pro

Hello

Thank you for accepting my debate.

Fist offal, you say, "Water boarding is obviously severe handling or treatment," in response to my definition of punishment. How is it severe? I would say that during a time of war, where there are videos of soldiers getting their heads cut off and we use these measures to keep me you and the rest of the United States free and safe, this is the farthest thing away from severe.

"In Furman v. Georgia (1972), Justice Brennan wrote, "There are, then, four principles by which we may determine whether a particular punishment is 'cruel and unusual'."

The "essential predicate" is "that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity," especially torture.
"A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion."
"A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society."
"A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary."'

I will argue each definition one by one
1) We are not degrading human to human dignity. My interpretation is that it means we are degrading a whole race or man kind, it's only 1 person and we're not degrading him.

2) IF I read this right, that is the whole point. We must make them lose their senses, not to kill, but to be able to get the information necessary out of them. If we killed them, it would be pointless.

3) This is not rejected throughout society. In a November 6th poll, 40% of Americans say that they support water boarding and 30% say it isn't a form of torture (I'm not a fan of polls because it's only on 1,024 people of over 300 million, so it could definitely change) so, if 40% support it, it is not rejected through out society.

4) Water boarding is necessary. The only reason we perform it on prisoners is because it works and has stopped numerous attacks. We are saving American lives when we do it.

"Torturing anyone, is in fact against the Geneva Convention."
I set up this debate to argue about if it's constitutional, not whether it is or is not against the Geneva Convention. And the same thing goes for the next thing you quoted; it has nothing to do with the Constitution.

Also, we can't speak about the prisoner is losing his rights under blank amendment when he is water boarded; he has no Bill of Rights, because he isn't a US citizen. So, as long as it is done on foreign prisoners, there is no question about is it is or is not Constitutional.
Vi_Veri

Con

I'm sorry, I have to give this debate up. Someone very close to me passed away tonight, and I don't think I will have the mentality for any debate for a very long time.

I'm sorry.
Debate Round No. 2
chevy10294

Pro

I understand. I won't post any further information.

I'm sorry about your friend/relative

100 charchters
Vi_Veri

Con

Thank you for understanding, chevy.

100 character minimum.............................................
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by rangersfootballclub 8 years ago
rangersfootballclub
how would you like it if i was a goverment and obtained information from you , by not actually harming you , but mentally torturing you and scarring you inside for life ? fun eh ?
Posted by CaliBeachgirl 9 years ago
CaliBeachgirl
Hey if "Free Health Care" can be justified constitutional, then hey, why not water boarding. Another point, its the best way to get information from a criminal without actally harming the person...I'm all in for that.
Posted by LadyA 9 years ago
LadyA
* "I withdraw my below comment on this debate as it may be deemed inappropriate given the circumstances."

All in favour of a "delete/edit comment" button...
Posted by LadyA 9 years ago
LadyA
Apologies. The latter half of the page has just loaded in my browser, having being previously blank. I withdraw my above comment on this debate as it may be deemed innopropriate given the circumstances.
Posted by LadyA 9 years ago
LadyA
I think my favourite part was "Fist offal"...
17 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
chevy10294Vi_VeriTied
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Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by chevy10294 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by Danielle 9 years ago
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