On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that journalist James Wright Foley, whom ISIS beheaded last week, was also waterboarded by the terrorist groups “several times.” The Post wrote, “James Foley was among the four [hostages] who were waterboarded several times by Islamic State militants who appeared to model the technique on the CIA’s use of waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” One witness told the Post, “They knew exactly how it was done.” This, of course, provided headline fodder over at The Huffington Post, where George W. Bush’s anti-terror policies are seen as the cause of every evil befalling mankind. The Post explained, “Waterboarding became perhaps the most notorious method of torture practiced by American interrogators in the years after September 11th.” The rest of the media have fallen into line as well, suggesting that if America had not waterboarded terrorists, James Foley would have been spared waterboarding. This may be correct. But focusing in on the waterboarding of James Foley seems mildly disproportionate given that ISIS cut off his head. And ISIS routinely engages in activities far worse for its victims than waterboarding, including systematic rape of women. Nonetheless, the
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