Yelm waterboarding incident

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In February 2010 active duty US soldier and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan Joshua Tabor was charged with child abuse for what was widely reported as "waterboarding" his four year old daughter.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Tabor disciplined the four year old child because she could not recite the alphabet. He is reported to have been inspired by the CIA's waterboarding of Guantanamo captives, and her fear of water.

Accounts of the incident vary. Tabor's daughter is usually reported as four years old. But the Irish Independent reported her as being seven years old.[8] Accounts vary as to whether he immersed her head in the bathroom sink, or the kitchen sink. Accounts vary as to how Tabor came to be arrested. Some reports say his live-in girlfriend called the Police. Some reports say neighbors reported him. While yet other reports merely say police found him wandering the streets of his neighborhood, drunk, less than coherent, and not dressed for the cold.

ABC News quoted Yelm's Chief of Police Todd Stancil doubts to whether Tabor acts were actually "waterboarding" "he is not sure whether Tabor actually ran the water over the girl's face, a move that would force a gag reflex."

Lawyer and Journalist Dahlia Lithwick, writing for Slate magazine described the debate over this event as marking a change in how the American press addressed the general issue of waterboarding.[9] She wrote:

  • "The narrow legal question of whether or not Tabor "water-boarded" his daughter masks the outrageousness of the media's sudden willingness to embrace the word. Newspapers that have twisted themselves into pretzels to avoid using words like torture or even water-board have suddenly embraced the term in the sloppiest possible way."
  • "We are evidently only willing to call such conduct torture if it's applied to people we want to see as innocent."

Tabor pled guilty to child assault in late August 2010.[10] He received a two month jail sentence. He was prohibited from contact with his daughter for five years. He was ordered to undergo therapy for dependencies. He was restricted from owning a firearm.[11]

Ben Achtenberg, of the Refuge Media Project, compared Tabor's two month sentence with the lack of punishment for Vice President of the United States, a strong proponent of torture.[11]

See also


  1. "US Soldier Waterboards His Own Four Year Old Daughter". Short news. 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2010-02-11. "The CIA who are infamous for practicing this form of torture on detainees being held at Guantanamo, has inspired Tabor to re-enact this with his daughter. He confessed to submerging her face under water until she struggled to breath or ´squirm´." 
  2. Christin Wolf (2010). Kindesmisshandlung- wird der Geschlagene zum Schläger?. GRIN Verlag. ISBN 9783640676125. Retrieved 2010-10-16. "Der Nachfolgende Fall aus den USA vom 09.02.2010 zeigt, dass church den Konsum vol Alkohol ein rationales and vernunftiges Denken immens einshrankt wird: Der 27-jahrige Soldat Joshua Tabor hat seine vierjahrige Tochter aus Wut daruber, weil sie ihm das Alphabet nicht aufsagen wollte, mit der Fortermethode Waterboarding gequalt. Er habe sie, in seinem Hau in Yelm, Washington, auf den Waschbeckenrand gesetzt un ihren Kopf immer wieder unter den flieBenden Wasserstrahl dedruckt. Der Vater gab zu, dass Kind aus Wut unter den mehrfach untergetaucht zu haben und hielt dies fur eine vollig angemessen Betrafung. Das Madchen sage spater aus, dass es sich bie det Bestrafung um heibes wasser handelte." 
  3. "Police: Iraq War Vet Joshua Tabor Waterboarded 4-Year-Old Daughter Over ABC's". CBS News. 2010-02-09. Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. "According to the police report, Tabor admitted to holding his daughter in the sink because she was afraid of water, CNN reports." 
  4. Jeremy Pawloski (2010-02-05). "Anger over alphabet ends in arrest". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. "Tabor spoke to a Yelm police officer and said that he and his girlfriend had “held her down on the counter and submerged her head into the water three or four times until the water came around her forehead and jawline.” He said that she was face-up when her head was in the water." 
  5. Emily Friedman (2010-02-08). "Joshua Tabor, Who Served in Iraq, Accused of Waterboarding Daughter: Authorities Say the 4-Year-Old Was Punished Because She Wouldn't Say Her ABCs". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. "Both the girl and the father admitted to the torture, even detailing how Tabor would sit the girl on the edge of the bathroom sink and hold her head down until it was nearly submerged in water, dunking her if she refused to recite the alphabet, said Stancil." 
  6. Vernal Coleman (2010-02-10). "Ft. Lewis Soldier Accused of Using Water Torture on 4-Year-Old Daughter". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on 2010-02-13. 
  7. "America divided over waterboarding of children". Daily Mash. 2010-02-09. Archived from the original on 2010-02-13. "THE arrest of a US soldier accused of sticking his daughter's head in a sink has sparked a national debate over when it is acceptable to water-board a child." 
  8. Ian O'Doherty (2010-02-09). "Ian O'Doherty: Well, they do call it tough love". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-02-02. "So may this column be the first to congratulate 27-year-old soldier Joshua Tabor, from Florida, for refusing to bow to the politically-correct school of parenting. Tabor was infuriated when his seven-year-old daughter refused to say her ABCs correctly. So he water-boarded her." 
  9. Dahlia Lithwick (2010-02-10). "Watering Torture Down: Why are the media so happy to use the T word in a child-abuse case?". Slate magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-02-12. "There's a good deal of towel-snapping going on in the blogosphere today over rampant use of the word water-boarding to describe the punishment an Iraq war veteran meted out to his 4-year-old daughter." 
  10. Martha King (2010-09-02). "Soldier sentenced in child water torture case". Komo News. Retrieved 2010-10-. "As a part of his sentence, Tabor, 27, was ordered to have no contact with his daughter for five years, and to refrain from consuming drugs or alcohol or handling firearm. The judge also ordered the soldier to receive a number of treatments dealing with a variety of issues, including chemical dependency, domestic violence, parenting and mental health."  mirror
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ben Achtenberg (2012-08-28). "2-Month Sentence for Waterboarding Child". Refuge Media Project. Retrieved 2015-02-15. "During Tabor’s trial, his attorney advanced the defense that he suffers from PTSD as a result of his military deployments, though other testimony cited bullying behavior dating from before his service. According to the newspaper account, “he did not directly apologize for his actions, instead saying, ‘I’ve made mistakes in my life.’” Tabor’s attorney asked the court to include language in the judgment that would permit him to continue to possess a firearm, but the judge refused."