It Doesn't Hold Water
You have to admit, it's difficult for even a bleeding heart liberal like me to take the side of a scumbag who helped plan the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After all, what is there to pity about a fat, hirsute slob like Khalid Sheik Mohammed? And, don't get me wrong: I'd never take the side of such a barely-human hair ball and am not now.
But according the NY Times, KSM was waterboarded 183 times, exactly 100 times more often than a four year-old Department of Justice memorandum reported. I guess the "1" accidentally got left out.
It's been gone into by better minds and writers than I how very important, vital even, it is for the United States to observe the rule of law, to show that we are better than the terrorists, that we can remain as relentless and determined as they without resorting to lawless ruthlessness.
That we are not above the Geneva Convention, in that the Geneva Convention is not a quaint document, as Alberto Gonzales once referred to it, in observing and respecting basic human rights because they are timeless regardless of what war template we're using.
It's also been said that the United States, in dealing with even the most serious national security threats, needs to consider that the illegal tactics we'd (until recently, thanks to President Obama. Why would Mr. Obama feel the need to ban torture if the Bush administration had already allegedly done so?) been using on our prisoners and detainees can also be used on captured American troops.
These are not original considerations.
But consider, also, what we'd gotten in exchange after selling our collective soul. KSM gave us shit instead of actionable intelligence. The CIA has never come close to apprehending anyone remotely connected to 9/11 that we've been able to convict as a result of KSM's "confessions." Mohammed played us for the fools we were, knowing that as long as he told them something, anything, they'd stop the torture and go running off where ever he sent them.
Torture such as waterboarding is indefensible but when you get nothing in the way of actual information that can enhance national security, that's twice as much it doesn't hold water.