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World Opinion: On Bush's comments on waterboarding

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the world.

From The Associated Press

On Bush's comments

on waterboarding:

The revelations of former U.S. President George W. Bush regarding "waterboarding" reopen the row over treatment of terror suspects.

Bush has claimed, in an interview to coincide with publication of his memoirs, that the waterboarding of al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed helped foil terrorist attacks (in England).

Waterboarding is a highly controversial interrogation technique where water is poured on a prisoner's face to simulate drowning. Last month the head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, described torture as "illegal and abhorrent" and denied that MI6 operatives had ever been involved in it.

Supporters of waterboarding deny that it is torture, and Bush says that his legal advice was that it was not, on the grounds that it did no lasting damage to prisoners' organs. ...

The dilemma involved remains, however, if only such harsh techniques will work in getting an undoubtedly hardened terrorist like Khalid Sheik Mohammed to talk. It is unclear from Bush's comments whether the waterboarding was necessary to extract the information relating to London: he has said only that the "interrogations helped break up plots" and that waterboarding was involved in the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and two other detainees.

The commitment of our security services not to participate in torture is admirable, and we should indeed take a stand against torture where it is used in the service of noxious regimes from Zimbabwe to Burma. Nevertheless, when faced with a threat like that posed by Islamist terror groups, we must reluctantly concede that techniques such as waterboarding may be necessary as a last resort in the defense of our citizens.

-- London Evening Standard