Not only was former President George W. Bush criticized for "authorizing torture," his critics argued that "torture doesn't work." During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama said: "Torture is how you get bad information, not good intelligence. ... No more secret authorization of methods like simulated drowning. When I am President, America will once again be the country that stands up...
I would not characterize waterboarding as torture, not like cutting off feet or hands, or crushing fingers or toes, or other such things. I would call waterboarding "torment of an excruciating kind." I can guess it would get into your head if you knew it was coming.
In "Zero Dark Thirty," the movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden, one of the first scenes shows a terrorist being waterboarded, where useful information gets extracted. The movie thus asserts the controversial practice leads to actionable intelligence.
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