What if we start simulated shootings instead. Would that be okay?

Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded for science. He says the same as everyone who has undergone it says: yes, it really is torture. To which we all say: duh, dumbass. Of course controlled drowning is torture, just as any simulated execution is torture. Simulated execution, I think, we can all get together on that being torture, right?
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.
The answer is fifteen seconds. There's a video.

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Blogger suttonhoo said...

not entirely off topic -- this appeared in the NYT yesterday in a review of the new u.s. embassy in berlin:

"But the newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine called the American Embassy 'a mixture of hysteria and nostalgia,' complete with reference to the 'waterboarding area.'"

the u.s. *owns* waterboarding now. forget whoever may have developed it originally: we've made it our hallmark methodology. it's shortcut for the reality that we're "one of those" nations who tortures those unfortunate enough to fall into our hands.

(I want my country back.)

July 05, 2008 9:05 pm  

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