Torture?

TORTURE?….President Bush announced yesterday that 14 “high value detainees” would be transferred from secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo Bay. ABC News describes the interrogation techniques that have been used on on them:

The first ? the attention grab, involving the rough shaking of a prisoner.

Second ? the attention slap, an open-handed slap to the face.

Third ? belly slap, meant to cause temporary pain, but no internal injuries.

Fourth ? long-term standing and sleep deprivation, 40 hours at least, described as the most effective technique.

Fifth ? the cold room. Prisoners left naked in cells kept in the 50s and frequently doused with cold water.

The CIA sources say the sixth, and harshest, technique was called “water boarding,” in which a prisoner’s face was covered with cellophane, and water is poured over it (pictured above) ? meant to trigger an unbearable gag reflex.

Is this torture? There’s an easy question that provides some moral clarity here: If someone else did this to American prisoners, would you consider it torture? If you would, then it’s torture when we do it too.