Fire fighters who talk about "crispy critters" don't do it because they fail to understand that the remains found in a smoldering house are someone's friends, someone's family. They do it exactly because they know these pitiful remains are all that's left of living, breathing people, and if they don't distance themselves emotionally from what they're seeing, they won't be able to do their jobs. If they don't place a box around what they're experiencing today, they won't be able to work tomorrow -- and tomorrow they just might save someone who can still be saved. Part of that box is language that seems cruel or dismissive to a casual observer.
Rather than using the term "water torture," they're indulging in the dark humor of the people who watched men's eyes go wide before the sopping towel was pressed against the face. For that there's no reason, no reason at all. Because when it comes to matters like torture, the last thing the public needs is a media that's trying to insert itself between Americans and the ugliness of our government's actions. Giving us that kind of emotional out isn't going to protect us, it just makes it easier for us to repeat this horrible era.
Saying "waterboarding" trivializes what we've done. It's not a neutral term, it s dismissive term, created with the purpose of snickering at pain.
The term is "water torture."