It's a chilling Weimar-style editorial. The editors describe waterboarding, a torture technique long recognized as such by every legal authority, domestic and international, thus:

the practice of making someone fearful he is about to drown in an effort to induce him to cooperate with interrogator.

They define what they believe is now allowed:

[techniques] that don't involve maiming, mutilation and other legitimate torture...

The Times continues to argue that Geneva's Common Article 3 does not apply to prisoners the president doesn't want it to apply to. But the baseline standards for humane treatment - not POW status, but core human status - apply to all.

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