T is For Torture: Soldier Allegedly Waterboards Four-Year-Old Daughter After She Fails To Recite Alphabet

Soldier Joshua Tabor is accused to using “enhanced interrogation” techniques perfected by the Bush Administration (aka torture) as a parenting skill with his four-year-old daughter. When she failed to recite the alphabet correctly, Tabor allegedly held her under water as a corrective measure.

News accounts are calling this waterboarding, but it is unclear if he used actual waterboarding techniques or simple submersion. Of course, both are vile forms of child abuse and the daughter has been safely removed from the home.

Tabor, 27, based in Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington was arrested after walking around in a Kevlar military helmet and threatening to smash windows. When the police went to his home, his girlfriend reported the abuse and they found the girls covered in bruises. I would like to know why it took the police to appear at the door for the girlfriend to report child abuse.

Of course, while the Obama administration refuses to investigate (let alone prosecute) torture by high-ranking Bush officials, this soldier will be prosecuted. It appears that he only had to claim that he was doing it under orders and the girl was a suspect to get a pass on waterboarding. It would be nice to think that this soldier and Bush officials would be prosecuted for the use of torture –regardless of the twisted logic or excuse.

This story beats the baby gladiator fights as a parental tool, here.

For the full story, click here.

45 thoughts on “T is For Torture: Soldier Allegedly Waterboards Four-Year-Old Daughter After She Fails To Recite Alphabet”

  1. Canadian,

    It’s an option left to the judge once presented the mitigating evidence. Here the legal definition of sanity is the ability to understand that the actions you were taking were wrong and understand the nature of the proceedings against them. If that is a question, a good defense attorney is going to ask for a pre-trail competency hearing. At a competency hearing, the only matter discussed is the defendants ability to understand those questions. If the answer is yes, you go to trial and any psychological conditions should be presented as mitigation for sentencing. If the answer is no, the defendant can still be found guilty but not criminally responsible. This may also result in a release to family member or another custodial relationship or confinement in a psychiatric facility. They usually don’t want to put people that ill in with the general populace. In some cases, defendants are put in remedial care and then retried if their condition improves to where they can understand the nature of the charges against them although this is rare. When this happens, if the defendant is found culpable, they are usually moved to traditional holding facilities to complete the term of their sentence.

  2. Buddha,

    Did you see the newly released photos of the WTC? In all of the discussion of this, why did the 3rd tower collapse?


  3. BIL,
    So the treatment order is an ” and / or situation there if someone claims a defence of NCR ( I’m sorry not sure of the term there, here it’s ” Not criminally responsible )?

  4. Canadian,

    If properly taken into account, his sentence could be reduced and/or he could be ordered to seek treatment.


    Torture is not a crime with a motive element. If he’s legally competent – no matter how crazy otherwise – he should be charged. Now if it were a crime with a motive element, like fraud? That still shouldn’t deter prosecution if a crime is committed. As above, the defendant’s mental state should be taken into account at sentencing as proper mitigation absent incompetence to stand trial in the first place.

  5. Buddha,

    Couldn’t it be a defense to the crime charged at the time of the offense claimed?

  6. BIL,
    ” But any mitigation due to Tabor’s mental state should be taken into account during sentencing, not in deciding to prosecute ”

    Just out of curiosity, how would sentencing differ there in a case such as this if Tabor was diagnosed with a mental illness?

  7. The only victim (and these are key words) in this instance is the child.

    An adult can refuse to follow illegal orders. While I agree that the true criminals here are those who put soldiers at risk for their personal profits, Tabor could have refused those orders. The failure also rests with the military for not properly treating this solider and avoiding this risk. But the bottom line is Tabor is an adult and has choices. A four year old child? Not so much. While mental illness is a mitigating factor, it does not and excuse torturing children any more than it is torturing an adult.

    Crazy is not always evil nor is evil always crazy. Examples: Joan of Arc – crazy but not (necessarily) evil, Dick Cheney – evil (without doubt) but (probably) not crazy and Jeffery Dahlmer – evil and crazy. And when I use the term crazy, I use it in the legal sense of capable of knowing what they were doing was wrong.

    Torturing children is evil no matter your motivation and torture is a crime.

    But any mitigation due to Tabor’s mental state should be taken into account during sentencing, not in deciding to prosecute. What he did was a crime and there is no question as to what he did. Motive has a proper place and that place is at sentencing. Taking into account his mental state in deciding to prosecute (beyond basic competency) is as inappropriate as taking his religion into account in deciding to prosecute.

  8. @Buddah I agree with Alun. This man obviously wasn’t behaving in a mentally stable manner. There is a case to be argued in the courts – it’s for the experts to decide whether he was mentally able to decide between right and wrong.

    However, Alun, he doesn’t suffer this because the war in Iraq was illegal. He suffers it because he went to war. Had he not been acting out torture on his child, he may just as well have been acting out another ingrained violent behaviour.

    It seems to me that politicians and armchair commentators are too quick to justify war without thinking of the consequences for generations to come on those who fight those wars and those who are caught up in them through no fault of their own.

    Iraq in particular is a war of aggression, not a defensive war, as the US and the UK like to pretend. George W Bush and Tony Blair are war criminals and should be prosecuted.

  9. @Buddah is Laughing

    “There are some things you can’t blame on PTSD.”

    There’s a fallacy right there. Your response indicates that you think mental illness is an “excuse”, and not a real illness. You’re wrong. Soldiers are trained to be violent killers, when they are exposed to violence, and the threat of violence day after day, like in Iraq, they become stressed, and the violence becomes a normal response. This guy needs our help and sympathy, not our scorn. We should just hope that he gets the help he needs to overcome his problem, and also that his daughter is helped to recover from any psychological damage done to her by this incident. You are putting the blame in the wrong place, the blame lies with the US government for prosecuting illegal wars and for justifying torture. Blaming the victim is not going to help.

  10. Isn’t this exactly the activity that Yoo said the President could order? I agree with Prof. Turley in that if this guy can be prosecuted, why not Bush and Cheney and Yoo, et al??

  11. There are lots of things you can legally put war prisoners through that is child abuse against a four-year-old.

    Tabor, unfortunately, seems to have forgotten the difference, and PTSD or no, the child is a whole lot safer apart from him for a while.

  12. I’ve been struggling with this story.

    There are some things you can’t blame on PTSD.

    Torturing children is one of them.

    This is simply wrong and inexcusable under any circumstance.

  13. Saw this on Fox news. Makes you just want to do something to him and the child’s mom.

  14. This sort of thing happens with special forces troops–they get into a PTSD mode and forget where they are. I used to know an Army doc who had to assist in these situations. You’d have guys taking their teenage sons hostage because the kid didn’t take out the trash. They forget that they are not in some undisclosed country going after insurgents.

  15. Waterboarding a child, a 4 year old. Makes one think, does it not. I think the person needs therapy, like make some of the same corrective measure meted.

  16. One thing I have been asking is that we realize some people see the government as an extended parent, a source of guidance.

    Bad government leads to bad civilian behaviour for those who are of that persuasion.

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