16 January 2009

Water -- (One Hundred) Eight Years Later

I was thinking about the "waterboarding" techniques deployed by U.S. military and intelligence personnel against suspected terrorists held and tortured at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. About 108 years ago, a different water torture, called the "water cure" was effected against suspected insurgents in the Philippines during the U.S.'s original imperial war. Reading the U.S. media, you'd think that unpopular U.S. imperial aggression started in the late 1960s in Vietnam. But instead, water torture (through medical metaphor) was inflicted upon oppositional Filipinos in the Philippines sixty years before the U.S. officially stepped foot in in Indochina.

Now, however, the torture is not clothed in medical terminology, water torture is no longer a cure. Now, it operates through sports/laundering terminology, waterboarding. Yet, whether we call "it" torture, it violates all conventions on torture and war and violates the inherent and basic dignity of the human.

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