Paul Kramer has a detailed expose for The New Yorker on it's use 100 years ago:
Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom.
(With a Hat Tip to Brown over at Borrowed Suits)
Sound familiar? It should be frightening to the American People when their Government grants itself the latitude to torture people it deems "enemies" for the slope is slippery indeed..
Who next will become an "enemy" of the State to be taken away? And who next will be ordered to administer the torture?
While this post is filled with some over-the-top hyperbole (perhaps) the Government has often used violence to supress those deemed less than desirable. Recall: WTO Seattle, Kent State, The Bonus Army, Sacco and Vanzetti, Haymarket Square Chicago, Ludlow, Wounded Knee...