Waterboarding the Big Guy

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Hitchens gets waterboarded:

I fought down the first, and some of the second, wave of nausea and terror but soon found that I was an abject prisoner of my gag reflex. The interrogators would hardly have had time to ask me any questions, and I knew that I would quite readily have agreed to supply any answer. I still feel ashamed when I think about it. Also, in case it’s of interest, I have since woken up trying to push the bedcovers off my face, and if I do anything that makes me short of breath I find myself clawing at the air with a horrible sensation of smothering and claustrophobia. No doubt this will pass. As if detecting my misery and shame, one of my interrogators comfortingly said, “Any time is a long time when you’re breathing water.”

It’s powerful and distrubing, but I suspect this is not something that will change the pro-torture people’s minds. Hitchens paraphrases Lincoln on the subject of morality thusly: “If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.” But I don’t think there are many people whose support for waterboarding is seriously based in the belief that it’s not torture. They endorse it because it is torture, albeit a one that is superficially less risky and less likely to cause long term damage. Except if you count nightmares. Now, maybe if they were waterboarded…

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