Waterboarding

Christopher Hitchens actually volunteered himself to be waterboarded and then write about it for Vaity Fair.  You can watch the rather disturbing video here and read about it here.  No matter how much the Bush administration wants to call it “harsh interrogation,” it is torture, plain and simple. Waterboarding is not “simulated drowning,” rather it is drowning that stops before it kills the victim.  Here is some of Hitchens' firsthand description:

You may have read by now the official lie about
this treatment, which is that it ?simulates? the feeling of drowning.
This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are
drowning?or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled
conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying
the pressure. The ?board? is the instrument, not the method.
You are not being boarded. You are being watered. This was very rapidly
brought home to me when, on top of the hood, which still admitted a few
flashes of random and worrying strobe light to my vision, three layers
of enveloping towel were added. In this pregnant darkness, head
downward, I waited for a while until I abruptly felt a slow cascade of
water going up my nose. Determined to resist if only for the honor of
my navy ancestors who had so often been in peril on the sea, I held my
breath for a while and then had to exhale and?as you might
expect?inhale in turn. The inhalation brought the damp cloths tight
against my nostrils, as if a huge, wet paw had been suddenly and
annihilatingly clamped over my face. Unable to determine whether I was
breathing in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with mere
water, I triggered the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable
relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and stifling
layers pulled off me. I find I don?t want to tell you how little time I
lasted.

It disgusts me that many Americans, and worse, our leaders would like to define American morality downward– “but the terrorists behead people.”  So long as we look to terrorists for our moral and ethical principles, we might as well hang it up as a nation.

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