And the lesson is …
Posted by aogWednesday, 03 February 2010 at 16:22
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Kaus Files notes that one of the interesting aspects of the entire John Edwards saga is how complicit Old Media was in helping him out. He quotes an article from Gawker
This is why, says our source, who is close to Hunter, major media organizations could not stand up the affair story despite well-intentioned efforts. “They [staffers] would do anything to stop it coming out — they lied, they bullied, they called reporters’ editors and bad-mouthed them, they exchanged access.”
So, should we read this as Old Media bias in willing to be so easily intimidated, or that GOP aides are simply not as ruthless and vicious as Democratic Party ones?
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 at 02:41|
No one was tortured.
Sir, you disappoint, as that comment displays a far lower level of intellectual rigor than is your norm.
We know, indisputably, that some captives of the U.S. were subjected to “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”, and that these included:
1. Prolonged isolation,
2. Prolonged sleep deprivation,
3. Sensory deprivation,
4. Extremely painful “stress positions”, including “Long Time Standing”: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions,
5. Sensory bombardment (such as prolonged loud noise and/or bright lights),
6. Forced nakedness,
7. Sexual humiliation,
8. Cultural humiliation (such as desecration of holy scriptures),
9. Being subjected to extreme cold that induces hypothermia: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water,
10. Exploitation of phobias,
11. Simulation of the experience of drowning - “Water Boarding”: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.
Also: CIA’s Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described:
Harsh interrogation techniques […] were first authorized in mid-March 2002, [say] former and current intelligence officers and supervisors. […]
Portions of their accounts are corroborated by public statements of former CIA officers and by reports recently published that cite a classified CIA Inspector General’s report.
Other portions of their accounts echo the accounts of escaped prisoners from one CIA prison in Afghanistan.
“They would not let you rest, day or night. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. Don’t sleep. Don’t lie on the floor,” one prisoner said through a translator. […]
According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. [Emph. add.] They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.
While far from the classic “acid bath and electric shock” methods of torture, they clearly don’t meet the standards of the Geneva Convention, and really, any method of interrogation which leads hardened terrorists to “beg to confess” within a few minutes, and volunteer CIA agents within a few seconds, cannot be described as “benign” by any reasonable person. During WW II the Japanese commonly used some of these techniques as part of their general discipline and humiliation of American prisoners, and at the time the American press described such behavior as “torture”.
Further: Believe Me, It’s Torture: Christopher Hitchens Undergoes Waterboarding [All emph. original]:
Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.
Exploring this narrow but deep distinction, on a gorgeous day last May I found myself deep in the hill country of western North Carolina, preparing to be surprised by a team of extremely hardened veterans who had confronted their country’s enemies in highly arduous terrain all over the world. They knew about everything from unarmed combat to enhanced interrogation and, in exchange for anonymity, were going to show me as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like. […]
[I]t was difficult for me to completely forget the clause in the contract of indemnification that I had signed. This document (written by one who knew) stated revealingly:
“Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.
As the agreement went on to say, there would be safeguards provided “during the ‘water boarding’ process, however, these measures may fail and even if they work properly they may not prevent Hitchens from experiencing serious injury or death.” […]
The first specialist I had approached with the scheme had asked my age on the telephone and when told what it was (I am 59) had laughed out loud and told me to forget it. Waterboarding is for Green Berets in training, or wiry young jihadists whose teeth can bite through the gristle of an old goat. It’s not for wheezing, paunchy scribblers. For my current “handlers” I had had to produce a doctor’s certificate assuring them that I did not have asthma, but I wondered whether I should tell them about the 15,000 cigarettes I had inhaled every year for the last several decades. […]
You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning — or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board” is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered. This was very rapidly brought home to me when… […]
I find I don’t want to tell you how little time I lasted. […]
I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture. […]
Maybe I am being premature in phrasing it thus. Among the veterans there are at least two views on all this, which means in practice that there are two opinions on whether or not “waterboarding” constitutes torture. I have had some extremely serious conversations on the topic, with two groups of highly decent and serious men, and I think that both cases have to be stated at their strongest.
The team who agreed to give me a hard time in the woods of North Carolina belong to a highly honorable group. This group regards itself as out on the front line in defense of a society that is too spoiled and too ungrateful to appreciate those solid, underpaid volunteers who guard us while we sleep. These heroes stay on the ramparts at all hours and in all weather, and if they make a mistake they may be arraigned in order to scratch some domestic political itch. Faced with appalling enemies who make horror videos of torture and beheadings, they feel that they are the ones who confront denunciation in our press, and possible prosecution. As they have just tried to demonstrate to me, a man who has been waterboarded may well emerge from the experience a bit shaky, but he is in a mood to surrender the relevant information and is unmarked and undamaged and indeed ready for another bout in quite a short time. When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay. No thumbscrew, no pincers, no electrodes, no rack. Can one say this of those who have been captured by the tormentors and murderers of (say) Daniel Pearl? On this analysis, any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down. I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.
Against it, however, I call as my main witness Mr. Malcolm Nance. Mr. Nance is not what you call a bleeding heart. In fact, speaking of the coronary area, he has said that, in battlefield conditions, he “would personally cut bin Laden’s heart out with a plastic M.R.E. spoon.” He was to the fore on September 11, 2001, dealing with the burning nightmare in the debris of the Pentagon. He has been involved with the sere program since 1997. He speaks Arabic and has been on al-Qaeda’s tail since the early 1990s. His most recent book, The Terrorists of Iraq, is a highly potent analysis both of the jihadist threat in Mesopotamia and of the ways in which we have made its life easier. I passed one of the most dramatic evenings of my life listening to his cold but enraged denunciation of the adoption of waterboarding by the United States. The argument goes like this:
1. Waterboarding is a deliberate torture technique and has been prosecuted as such by our judicial arm when perpetrated by others. […]
We also know, indisputably, that some captives of the U.S. were renditioned to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Uzbekistan. If any rational argument can be made that there was any reason to do such other than those nations’ acceptance of “white-hot-tongs and thumbscrews” interrogation styles, I’m all ears.
Thus, any claims that the U.S. haven’t engaged in torture since 9/11, either directly or by proxy, or that such action was neither approved at the highest levels nor common, routine and widespread, FAIL to be supported by fact.
N.B., I agree with the decision to torture these particular captives, although I am nearly certain that I would have ended its routine use well before the Bush admin did. (“Nearly” because I am not privy to POTUS intel briefings, of course.)
However, the question in this thread is: Can President Bush the Younger’s approval of torture, (or even of routinely using slightly-less-than-torture “enhanced interrogation techniques”), be considered “ruthless and vicious”?
An answer of “not” can only be given by using other than reality-based reasoning.
Do what needs to be done, and own it. Be enlightened. We may be revolted by what the world forces us to do to survive and thrive, but to lie to ourselves about it is juvenile at best, sometimes infantile. Adults either play the game with clear eyes, or they choose not to, accepting that their survival might be disadvantaged in this dimension.
Anything less is just silly.
Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 01:29|
[Y]our descriptions are accurate, but how is any of that … torture?
Without question, prolonged sleep deprivation, “Long Time Standing”, being kept naked in a 50° F cell and periodically doused with cold water, and waterboarding are prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, so the argument that “it’s legal under U.S. law” cannot stand.
As for waterboarding, the mere fact that people volunteer to undergo it means that it’s not torture as defined by the Geneva convention or US law. I don’t see many people volunteering to have slivers of bamboo shoved under the finger nails or electrical cords attached to their genitalia.
We already know that bamboo slivers and electric shocks are unpleasant. People volunteer to experience waterboarding because it’s not commonly know how unpleasant it is, and so some are motivated, for various reasons, to find out.
And again, since almost everyone who undergoes waterboarding, even voluntarily, wants to stop almost immediately, and waterboarding breaks hardened terrorists/criminals within minutes, it defies reason for anyone to claim that it’s no big deal, similar to being denied dessert.
It’s clearly very unpleasant, even more so than slivers under the fingernails and electric shocks to the genitals, since people who have been subjected to such abuses have reported being able to hold out under such conditions for hours, even days.
Rendition is a slightly different issue, being unquestionably legal and the consistent policy of the last three administrations.
Which completely elides the issue of why we rendition. Sure it’s legal, but what’s the point? The point is to deliver U.S. captives to places where they can legally be tortured, for the benefit of America.
If you did not believe that the U.S. engage in torture-by-proxy, you would have said so, instead of writing that “it’s legal” and “everybody does it.”
For what it’s worth, you say that you agree with the decision to torture the people we tortured. I would not. Actual torture is always wrong under any circumstance — including the ticking bomb scenario.
Which would seem to be the reason that you don’t want to believe that the U.S. torture, or engage in torture-by-proxy.
You outline a particular interrogation technique that induces mental stress, rather than physical, and call that torture. If “torture” can be purely psychological, then even if you don’t believe that sleep deprivation1, “Long Time Standing”, induced hypothermia, or waterboarding, alone or especially in combination, rise to the level of physical torture, how can it be denied that they are mentally torturous?!?
[A]mong the tortures used by Saddam Hussein was the practice of raping a prisoner’s wife and/or daughters in front of him. There is no circumstance on earth that would get me to agree that the US was justified in using that technique. That is torture.
So “torture” is anything that you would never, ever do? And conversely therefore, anything that you would be willing to do, given the most exigent circumstances, cannot be regarded as torture?
That seems to be a very solipsistic way to address the issue.
- The argument that all of the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” are legal under U.S. law is nonfactual, although some are,
- That rendition is both legal and a longstanding policy at the highest levels of gov’t doesn’t affect in the slightest the fact that the purpose of these particular renditions is to transport prisoners of the U.S. to torture facilities,
- That people volunteer to experience waterboarding doesn’t mean that it’s not torture, it merely means that it’s not commonly-known to be torture. People try illegal drugs because they don’t have visceral experience with addiction; that doesn’t mean that they want to be addicted. In addition, what was the most common use of waterboarding by America before 9/11? To introduce our elite military forces to the experience of torture, for the purpose of building a resistance to such.
- If waterboarding isn’t torture, then why do volunteers stop the experience within a few seconds, and prisoners impress their interrogators by holding out for a few minutes??? Can you think of any other clearly “non-torturous” technique that produces such results? Indeed, almost all activities that are clearly torture don’t break people that quickly. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
- If, as you write, “torture is always wrong under any circumstance”, then the legality of rendition is moot. Torture-by-proxy is still torture. Therefore, the U.S. have tortured prisoners.
Actual torture is always wrong under any circumstance — including the ticking bomb scenario.
Since that’s an absolute statement, let me address it with an extreme scenario: We know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that there is a hostile nuclear device positioned in a major U.S. city. It’s not some jerry-rigged terrorist hack job, it’s been liberated from a known nuclear power, and it’s both sure to detonate, and not to be severely underwhelming. The terrorists are smart enough to get it on top of a tall building or lashed to a small plane before detonating it.
We’ve captured one of their leaders, subduing him before he could swallow his cyanide pill, and he’s a homegrown American, with a family nearby.
At issue are the following repercussions from a successful attack:
1. Hundreds of thousands of fatalities, both immediate and for a decade following.
2. Possibly millions of less-than-lethal casualties.
3. Trillions of dollars of property and economic damage, both in the immediate city, and from reaction across the city and indeed across the entire developed world, as people attempt to increase their security.
4. Decreased liberty and permanent increases in spending on security, again both in the U.S. and in the other advanced nations.
5. Military-Industrial Complex tightens grasp on national treasury and Federal policy, both foreign and domestic.
Even if one doesn’t buy a “sacrifices of the one against the benefit of the many” argument2 if it’s one person paying the price for two people to be safe, it’s another kettle of fish altogether to maintain that it’s not worth it to sacrifice a few people to potentially save millions from immediate harm, as well as the permanent shaping of the world in an extremely negative way. After all, every bit of resources used for additional security forces and devices are resources that can’t go towards mitigating hunger or for helping disaster victims. So even if nuking an American city wouldn’t harm even a single person immediately, the trillions of dollars of productivity that would be bent towards defense would heavily impact industrial and R&D capital spending, thus decreasing future quality of life for everyone on the planet, as well as assuredly resulting in millions of indirect deaths over the next few decades due to decreased spending on medical tech, medical facilities and agricultural science, and a decreased ability to subsidize the food-consumptive side of the crops vs. fuel dynamic.
Really, it goes back to the olde philosophical chestnut, “if you could prevent [oppressive dictator of choice] from ascending to power by killing one random, definitely-innocent person…” And I would3.
Therefore, given the above scenario, I’d definitely give the go-ahead for Terrorist Leader X’s wife and kids to be raped in front of him, if I believed that he’d care enough to give up his bomb.
But, since it would be far more effective, (not to mention humane), to simply torture him by waterboarding, I’d do that first.
1 Which I can assure you, from personal experience, IS torturous. Ditto for being subjected to cold for long periods.
2 And if one doesn’t buy that paradigm, then how can one logically support police, firefighter and military organizations? After all, when a police officer, firefighter, or soldier, sailor, airman or Marine dies doing their duty, it’s usually not because it’s to their benefit to so do - it’s for the perceived benefit of society.
3 The innocent die all of the time, without any good coming from it. Another one, vs the known damage that [oppressive dictator of choice] would, is or did do, is virtually no price at all to pay, especially if one is of a religious bent. (And that holds true even for lightly-oppressive dictators, like Putin or Chavez.)
Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 20:26|
Mr. Cohen isn’t the only one who views many of these as non-tortuous.
Many of them aren’t torture. Some of ‘em are, as you (they?) appear to acknowledge, given the “many” qualifier.
1. Why would you think that information gained about terrorists would only benefit the U.S…
They are prisoners of the U.S., and they are being turned over to foreign gov’ts for the express purpose of acquiring information that will possibly benefit the U.S. That the information might also benefit other nations is true, but irrelevant. That’s not why America is renditioning captives. Indeed, I suspect that if the U.S. gov’t believed that the information obtained would only benefit other nations, few of the prisoners would be turned over.
…and even if that were true, why wouldn’t that be reason enough?
I support the torture, to a certain extent. David Cohen is absolutely against it, and therefore it is to him that you should address that question.
2. The formation is odd in itself. We mostly refer to our country as the U.S., not America.
Sorry ‘bout that. I am a foreign agent/agitator, and I don’t always get the colloquialisms right.
On the other hand, the Catholic Church, the Library of Congress, the U.S. State Dept., and Katherine Lee Bates & the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services all disagree with your interpretation. So there may be hope for me yet.
Thinking that we can ignore personal morality out of service to some greater morality is always just an excuse to avoid doing what we know to be right. Individual morality is the only morality.
Well, no. What I know to be right is that shooting an innocent child in the face would be worth it, to avoid Hitler and everything that came after. Therefore, by my reckoning your “personal morality” is truly personal, in that it benefits only you. YOU get to avoid staring into the abyss, at the cost of millions of random innocents killed.
But don’t get me wrong, “individual morality is the only morality” is a legitimate, reasonable, G-d-approved choice. It’s just a lesser part of the whole of morality.
But if the hypothetical was that only torture (what I consider torture) would work, then no, I wouldn’t torture him or allow him to be tortured.
Thinking that we can ignore personal morality out of service to some greater morality is always just an excuse to avoid doing what we know to be right. Individual morality is the only morality.
As for rendition, who are we to impose our subjective cultural values on other peoples?
These seem like contradictory statements to me. “Greater morality” is always wrong, and you would never, ever, regardless of circumstances, allow anyone to be tortured, but it’s A-OK to turn somebody over to known torturers, for the express purpose of allowing the prisoner to be interrogated by torture????
If we politically pressure (or invade and occupy) Uzbekistan, because they have the charming habit of anally-raping interrogees with broken bottles, then that would be “impos[ing] our subjective cultural values on other peoples”.
But if America chooses to turn over prisoners to Uzbekistan, so that they can do our dirty work for us, that’s importing the superior culture - accepting their subjective cultural values due to some weakness in ours.
Prisoners of the U.S. are in our total control. We are morally responsible for what happens to them. If we turn them over to others, for the explicit purpose of having them tortured, then we are as guilty of torture as are the actual interrogators. In no way are we attempting to impose American cultural values on the societies receiving such prisoners. If, for the sake of argument, we assume that American cultural values include an aversion to torture, then it would be COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to impose such a value on our torturing partners.
If you truly believe what you’ve written about torture and morality, then you MUST KNOW that renditions-for-torture are WRONG. (By your standards.) It is “allowing to be tortured”, at the very least. And it’s COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE by the U.S., since we’re the ones making it possible.
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On another topic, if sacrificing innocents for the greater good is verboten, then how do you feel about the ~250,000 combat deaths among American draftee service members during WWII?
Since they had to be conscripted, they obviously weren’t of a mind to volunteer to be placed in harm’s way. Would you say that forcing them into combat was wrong?
Would you also find it to be immoral if draftees weren’t sent to war, but were instead forced to labor in defense plants, providing arms and materiel in support of an all-volunteer fighting force?
Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 10:15|
Rendition of U.S. prisoners to torture facilities in, e.g., Egypt and Morocco is legal.
The U.S./UK invasion of Iraq was legal.
But you of all people should know that legality doesn’t bestow morality, and that sometimes what’s moral is illegal.
Which is the problem with the formulation that “the difference between murder and killing is [that] one violates law and morality and the other doesn’t.” Humans are (sometimes) capable of determining if a killing has violated the law, but rarely capable of determining the ultimate morality of the death.
That’s why the difference is in the eye of the beholder, the paradigm under which one operates. In the U.S., we find honor killings of females to be murder. In other parts of the world, it’s justifiable homicide. And the saying that “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” contains more than a grain of truth.
For instance, given that you believe that one life is exactly as valuable as one million lives, and I believe in something diametrically opposed, we’d both act in LAWFUL ways during a “ticking time-bomb” scenario - but we’d both view the other’s actions as abominable and deeply abhorrent to G-d.
Immoral, in other words. Which is why bringing up the legality of torture or military attacks is well beside the point.
Yes, the “kill a child to thwart [any really bad thing]” scenario is silly. That’s why it’s a philosophical challenge instead of a debate on policy. But sometimes thinking about absurdly extreme scenarios can clarify situations that we’re more likely to face, which are likely to be far more complex and not nearly as clear-cut.
Of course I’d have committed suicide if there were a 50/50 chance that it would have prevented 9/11. Anyone who wouldn’t is infantile or a rank coward, unworthy of Valhalla. (Members of religions or sects who believe that regardless of reason, suicide is damning, excluded.)
I’d do it if there were a 20% chance of stopping 9/11 and everything that has flowed from it. Logically, I ought to be willing to do so if there were a 1% or even .1% chance that it would stop 9/11, but those odds are cold and bitter.
Monday, 15 February 2010 at 15:39|
My position is that … “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against enemies of the United States for the purpose of gaining actionable intelligence is not illegal.
Yeah, that’s my point. We’d both act lawfully - you by refusing to do anything, which ain’t illegal, and me by using “enhanced interrogation techniques” to save the city. Now, it’s true that I consider many “enhanced interrogation techniques” to be, in fact, torture, but I’m OK with using torture in some circumstances. So for you to write that you’re “not sure why you say we’d both act in lawful ways during a ticking-time bomb scenario [since] you’d torture some terrorist” is a bit of a nullity. You have stated several times that “enhanced interrogation technique” torture is both lawful and moral.
You’ve also failed to address the ramifications of legal rendition-for-torture - unless you’re alluding that it too is an “enhanced interrogation technique”.
I think Ozymandius’ plan was hopelessly utopian and would by at most 5 years of peace.
[Ozymandius] is the archetype of the “educated class” that’s going to break a whole lot more innocent eggs for less benefit.
A lot more than five years, I’d guess. I’d be shocked if, after destroying so many cities, and killing so many millions of people to make Earthlings think that they must unite against the “threat of Dr. Manhattan”, Oz wasn’t planning to unleash more “Intrinsic Field Energy” death-from-above occasionally to remind everybody to focus on the “real” threat, and quit squabbling amongst themselves.
The U.S./USSR “MAD” threat resulted in fifty years and counting of global peace…
As for benefit - Oz manipulated Dr. M into developing “Intrinsic Field Energy” generators, which technology was retained by humanity. Given that in order to grow in both numbers and sophistication1 humanity will need to develop a gargantuan and ferocious primary energy source which is not fossil-based2, the price paid was so light as to be relatively nothing. Now that’s a deal!
The above relates only to the movie version. The comic version of events, and the ending, were somewhat different.
1 Or even just to survive in our current numbers, with our current comforts and abilities, for longer than the end of this very century in which we now live.
2 Which includes fissionable materials.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 14:27|
You’ve been a good sport. I appreciate the conversation.
Rendition for torture is all speculation, hearsay and the word of ex-prisoners.
LOL. Yeah. That passes the smell test about as well as the Iranian “peaceful nuclear electrical program”. The U.S. are sending prisoners to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Uzbekistan because what, their conventional interrogators are better than American ones? Hardly.
The reason that I keep pressing you about rendition, is because you are so adamant that you would rather die than mistreat another human being, and that in fact you “would not allow” anyone else to torture a prisoner around you, but all you have to say about the U.S. rendition policy is that “it’s legal”.
No doubt, but is it moral? You seem to have an enormous aversion to gazing directly at what your government is doing.
As for inconsistency, we would both agree that the U.S. don’t want to be seen directly, illegally torturing prisoners. That doesn’t play well in Peoria, and also undermines our global good-will PR efforts, so we have to get our henchmen to do the really dirty work. But America is still legally and morally responsible for them doing so, since we are complicit co-conspirators.
Where we disagree is about the effect and morality of the legal stuff. I think that some “enhanced interrogation techniques” are torture. Apparently the Obama admin agrees, since the list of approved “enhanced interrogation techniques” was cut to bar the more-traumatic actions. And if the morality and torture-status of given techniques rests solely on their legality, then some of ‘em are on rather shaky ground - while apparently nobody has been prosecuted for using these techniques, there is great controversy over whether or not they’re legal, and just as “acquitted” is not the same as “innocent”, so too does “not prosecuted” not mean “lawful”.
However, I will say that one aspect of the situation that I can’t explain is that, given that waterboarding was previously accepted, if it’s so all-fired effective why were we sending anyone to face more conventional tongs-and-pincers torture?
One answer could be domestic American politics - even though quasi-legal, waterboarding is still unsavory and hugely controversial, and therefore the Bush the Younger admin might have wanted to keep the heat off.