In the US waterboarding is a legal practice because it is deemed to not cause "pain and suffering", as these accordingly, are not two separate entities. Jonathan Mann www.rockcookiebottom.com did a fabulous song just singing the memorandum on Waterboarding released by the government that summises that waterboarding is not torture:
"the detainee is lying on a gurney that’s inclined at an angle: 10 to 15 degrees, a cloth is placed over the detainee’s face cold water is poured on the cloth. The wet cloth creates a barrier through which it is difficult, or in some cases not possible, for the detainee to breathe. If the detainee makes an effort to defeat the technique by twisting his head to the side and breathing out the corner of his mouth, the interrogator may cup his hands around the detainees nose and mouth in which case it would not be posible for him to breathe... The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.
Torture is always pshycological - so pain becomes the fear of pain, waterboarding the fear of not being able to breath and ultimately death. That it could be done without “pain and therefore suffering” would make it a pointless exercise - surely it is done to extract information - I doubt this would be possible without real fear on the part of the detainee. Why would anyone even try and rationalise this. If it is a necessary evil stand by this, not by trying to make it sound like a harmless occurence. I don’t think any thing can justify torture - behaving in a dehumanising way - it delegitimises claims to moral superiority. The threat from Alquaeda is based in the hatred they have of the west and westerners. So torturing detainees and supporting this through moral and legal arguments - shows the west to not only be corrupt but hypocritical. The very governments that condemn the Taliban -who openly carry out torture and murder - make their involvement in such nations to support the creation of liberal and democratic regimes even more spurious. Is there ever justification for torture? Is waterboarding a more acceptable form of torture? Will what has happened in Cuba make the world a safer place?