Media

Christopher Hitchens Tortured (Seriously)

|

Christopher Hitchens underwent waterboarding for a Vanity Fair story. His conclusion?

I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong." Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

Below is an excerpt from his day in the life of a torture victim:

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.

Check out the full story here. See the video here. Jacob Sullum on waterboarding here.

NEXT: Idiot Tested, Not TSA Approved

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hitchens talked? Not my brother Christopher, I refuse to believe it!

  2. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

    Darn! Another of the precious few things I have found to disagree with Mr. Hitchens about.*

    Such is life.

    *I do agree with the Lincoln quote.

  3. This may be the first (or one of the few) time I have agreed with Hitchens.

    That’s beside the point. I just wanted to say that I favor the torturing of Christopher Hitchens.

  4. robc,

    Really? I think you are joking. If you hung out with him for a while you might change your mind. He is really cool and nice in person.

  5. I heard that he set a waterboarding record, after they gave up on water and started using scotch.

    Zing!

  6. Really? I think you are joking. If you hung out with him for a while you might change your mind. He is really cool and nice in person.

    When he is drunk or when he is sober?

    Actually, probably more a more relevant question would be :

    Is there is a camera on him? Cuz that seems to be when he is at his douchy-est.

  7. Why don’t you try it, Tom, and get back to us.

  8. That’s only stage one waterboarding. Seriously. That’s the lightweight version the media feeds us.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding

  9. Guy,

    Socialist->neo-con (not that there is much difference, Trotskyites are Trotskyites)

    What was there to agree with him about?

  10. Nick M wins the thread.

  11. When he is drunk or when he is sober?

    The one time I got to hang out with him was at a bar and he was sober the whole time, even though we were both drinking pretty much the whole hour. It was around lunch time on a weekend when he was addressing a group nearby.

    Of course, I am not around him every day (that was only time in person), but it seemed the reputation of being hammered all the time was exxagerated. I do know one guy who works at Morton’s, who used to be a bartender downtown, at a spot where Mr. Hitchens visited regularly and he did not seem to like ‘The Hitch’ so much. So, ya never know.

  12. Esquire as a great article on the decline of the Son of A Bitch. An insult that has faded in favor of asshole or douche/douchebag. To me Hitchens is a classic son of a bitch. You may not like the guy, but it’s hard not to have a grudging respect.

  13. if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture

    It may be a bit more nuanced than that. There may be degrees of horror. I submit that disemboweling a pregnant woman while she is conscious is more severe than pulling ten fingernails with pliers. In turn, I’ll take fingernail removal over bamboo shoots pounded under the fingernail. Either of which has got to be worse than waterboarding. 110 volts to the cajones is ranking high on my list of least faves. Worst part is when you give up and tell them what they want they kill you anyway. Well maybe not us.

    Frankly, I still don’t know why GWB just didn’t kill them all instead of loading them onto a plane and flying them to Cuba. Dumb shit.

  14. robc,

    He does have a serious libertarian streak for letting people do as they may, even if he does not like it.

    We talked about religion a little, neither of us had a problem with the other being on completly different sides of the issue.

  15. According to our best sources, the US used waterboarding three times on detainees. A quick google serach reveals that Hitchens is at least the 4th journalist to have it done to him (the others are Kaj Larsen, Henri Alleg, steve Harrigan).

    You’re actually safer from torture if you are in US custody than if you’re employed by a media company.

  16. “Frankly, I still don’t know why GWB just didn’t kill them all instead of loading them onto a plane and flying them to Cuba. Dumb shit.”

    The teory at the time was that they might have had information about the location of Osama Bin Ladin. Maybe we will get him one decade.

  17. Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

    Not to mention the useless and often fake testimony it inspires.

  18. Esquire as a great article on the decline of the Son of A Bitch

    Royal: I’ve always been considered an asshole for about as long as I can remember. That’s just my style. But I’d really feel blue if I didn’t think you were going to forgive me.

    Henry Sherman: I don’t think you’re an asshole, Royal. I just think you’re kind of a son of a bitch.

    Royal: Well, I really appreciate that.

  19. Does this mean we can charge Vanity Fair with war crimes?

  20. I think that one of the problems with the waterboarding-as-torture discussion is that all of us can go through waterboarding without any lasting effects.

    Let me be perfectly clear, waterboarding is in my opinion, a form of torture.

    The problem is that Christopher Hitchens can agree to go through waterboarding as a journalistic enterprise. Christopher Hitchens would probably not, however, agree to have his fingernails extracted, cigarette burns put all over his body, or be hung by his hands behind his back.

    All of these are forms of torture, but like anything else, there are degrees which can be applied to all of them.

    Many special forces soldiers are waterboarded during their training. The reason they pick waterboarding is because it’s a form of torture that you can put anyone through without physically injuring or damaging them. Plus, it’s not painful in the direct sense, it’s psychologically horrifying to feel as if you’re drowning, even if only for an instant.

    My point to all of this is that because Christopher Hitchens went through waterboarding voluntarily and can talk frankly about the experience, the questioning of waterboarding-as-torture will only intensify.

    “Heck, if Christopher Hitchens can do it, is it really torture?”

  21. Does this mean we can charge Vanity Fair with war crimes?

    Jesus Christ, not this stupid meme. The difference between this ans what we did in Gitmo is like the difference between what I do with my grilfriend and rape or the difference between my donation to the United Way and being mugged. You fucking moron.

    Guy,
    How many times have you been waterboarded?

  22. Mo, calm down. I think TallDave was using a technique known as humor and wit. I don’t believe he was serious.

  23. Christopher Hitchens has endured far more insidious forms of torture. Observe:

    http://www.collegecandy.com/body/10068

  24. I’d like to see someone like Limbaugh, Coulter or Malkin undergo waterboarding, and then explain that it’s really not a big deal at all.

    Of course, to take that stance, they really should have to last for at least half an hour before signalling to stop.

  25. I wouldn’t think that waterboading would faze Hitch.

    Now, getting him to drink pure H20…..

    I keed, I keed.

    Hitch is a drunk, Cockburn is a serial heiress snaffler, Nader is a rich hypocrite, yada yada. None of that gossip adds or takes away much from their arguments, after all.

    Kevin

  26. From Wiki:
    …when the press reported that the CIA had waterboarded extrajudicial prisoners and that the Justice Department had authorized this procedure.

    Justice Department!!!??

    or is it the department for the approval of torture techniques?

  27. Seems to me that before we can decide what constitutes torture, we need a clear definition of the word “torture”. And when we are talking about whether or not the US government has illegally tortured, that definition needs to be provided by Congress, not the White House lawyers and not some journalists or H&R commenters who claim to know what its all about.

  28. “Heck, if Christopher Hitchens can do it, is it really torture?”

    Anybody can be tortured. If Hitchens was able to hold out for a non-embarrassing amount of time, then we can start asking whether it rises to torture. If Hitchens didn’t get a safeword and they kept doing it over and over again (to the point where he suffered long term psychological damage) our view was different. People choose waterboarding because you can stop it before it becomes damaging.

    Sensory overload is similar. Any asshole can walk away from sensory overload or about 20 seconds and laugh about how they pussed out after such a short period of time. Do it for an hour or six and you won’t find people laughing about it so much.

    Mo, calm down. I think TallDave was using a technique known as humor and wit. I don’t believe he was serious.

    You must be new here. Humor and wit are not what TallDave is known for. He’s asked the same question re: the DoD because Special Forces waterboards their soldiers as part of their training.

  29. Did it cause Mr Hitchens any physical harm? Was he terrified? Did he immediately talk? That would be no, and yes, and yes, making waterboarding a humane, extremely effective, non-torture method of extracting information from terrorists and prisoners of war*.

    *a category that none of the detainees at GitMo fall into, because they fought in a militia that refuses to follow the Geneva Convention, refusing to wear uniforms (and deliberately dressing as local civilians, targeting civilians and other targets specifically designated off limits by the GC, such as mosques).

  30. 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’m fairly certain that Mr. Hutchins’ experience was downright comfortable compared to what the detainees faced. The lack of a “pre-arranged signal” added to knowing that the interrogator faces no penalty for unfortunate events would make waterboarding a much more memorable event.

    Yeah, it’s torture. Any quibbling about that fact is just disingenuous justification for immoral practices.

  31. Not to mention the useless and often fake testimony it inspires.*

    *Except for the actionable information that was gained on the three prisoners it was administered to, apparently.

  32. J sub,
    If you read the article, he didn’t even have enough wits to do that.

    I was completely convinced that, when the water pressure had become intolerable, I had firmly uttered the pre-determined code word that would cause it to cease. But my interrogator told me that, rather to his surprise, I had not spoken a word. I had activated the “dead man’s handle” that signaled the onset of unconsciousness.

    Generally people that are not harmed don’t become unconscious.

  33. 3. It may be a means of extracting information, but it is also a means of extracting junk information. (Mr. Nance told me that he had heard of someone’s being compelled to confess that he was a hermaphrodite. I later had an awful twinge while wondering if I myself could have been “dunked” this far.) To put it briefly, even the C.I.A. sources for the Washington Post story on waterboarding conceded that the information they got out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “not all of it reliable.” Just put a pencil line under that last phrase, or commit it to memory.”

  34. a category that none of the detainees at GitMo fall into, because they fought in a militia that refuses to follow the Geneva Convention, or werent actually involved at all but were turned in for money and/or pissing someone off

    Fixed

  35. It’s really fucking sad that you can go to a place where self-described libertarians hang out and discover that torture is a “debatable” topic. I’m not looking for an echo chamber, but I’m not looking for the equivalent of a Flat Earth Society meeting either.

  36. thoreau,

    If you hate this your head may explode when the next zoning debate pops up.

  37. Maybe we can get other journalists to investigate waterboarding? I’d like to see video of Chris Matthews getting waterboarded. I think also Lou Dobbs and definitely Keith Olbermann. Uh, Heraldo too… Maybe this should be a weekly series. You know, for charity or something…

  38. Oh, this is too wimpy for Mr. Obermann and Mr. Rivera-Rivers. They need to try the more advanced stuff, like getting put in a cold room or missing some sleep.

  39. Mo, I think you’re trying to pick a fight with people who agree with your definition of torture. All of those arguments have been made and well established in the H&R community. We know it’s a lot different to go into a controlled, safe environment and be ‘tortured’ with very specific limits and a guaranteed pathway out of the experience.

    My point is that I concur that waterboarding is a unique niche of torture which, by its nature allows this kind of discussion to go on unabated.

    As I stated before, and I’ll state again, there won’t be many journalists that will agree to having their fingernails pulled out or cigarettes burned into their bodies. Because of this fact, this allows the question of whether waterboarding is torture to proliferate.

    As more and more journalists agree to endure waterboarding, conservatives will use this as proof that waterboarding isn’t torture. Hitchens is basically preaching to the choir.

  40. A friend of mine watched as several SEAL trainees carried a rowboat, in which their drill instructor sat, while they ran across a beach. As they were running and carrying the boat, he was beating their hands with a stick.

    Q: What can we learn from this about whether beating people with a stick counts as torture?

    A: Nothing. We cannot learn anything whatsoever about whether beating people with a stick counts a torture from the training practice described above.

  41. “Heck, if Christopher Hitchens can do it, is it really torture?”

    Oh, and you do realize, Mo, that I was paraphrasing an argument that I predict will come from the mouths of people who think waterboarding isn’t torture, right?

  42. Maybe “zoning” is Guy’s safe word.

    He seems to use it whenever he’s taken enough a beating, and wants it to stop.

  43. Of course, no mention of FM 2-22.3.

  44. damnit…

    joe: agreed on the SEAL training comment.

  45. My point is that I concur that waterboarding is a unique niche of torture which, by its nature allows this kind of discussion to go on unabated.

    It’s not that unique.

    Let’s say I kidnapped you, locked you up, and controlled when you ate, slept, used the bathroom, and everything; anytime you disobeyed you would be physically assaulted and forced to comply. Would that be torture? A lot of people would say yes. OK, then, prison itself is torture.

  46. Bramblyspam: I’d like to see someone like Limbaugh, Coulter or Malkin undergo waterboarding, and then explain that it’s really not a big deal at all.

    Windypundit: I’d like to see video of Chris Matthews getting waterboarded. I think also Lou Dobbs and definitely Keith Olbermann. Uh, Heraldo too… Maybe this should be a weekly series. You know, for charity or something…

    ……and people think we need to bring back the Fairness Doctrine……

  47. The scary thing is, so many of these waterboarded victims from Gitmo, when their case is examined in court, the judge almost laughs at the evidence, it’s so flimsy.

    A Uigher tribesman flees persecution in China and ends up in Afghanistan in the wrong place, at the wrong time, knows virtually nothing about the war on terror. It’s like 1984.

  48. so many of these waterboarded victims from Gitmo

    All three of them?

  49. It’s really fucking sad that you can go to a place where self-described libertarians hang out and discover that torture is a “debatable” topic. I’m not looking for an echo chamber, but I’m not looking for the equivalent of a Flat Earth Society meeting either.

    Mostly because no one cares about terrorists. Many libertarians don’t care if the guilty suffer and feel no moral outrage when they do. Their concern tends to be more academic…ie Thinking the poor bastard who is innocent but suffers out of government incompetence or corruption.

  50. Mostly because no one cares about terrorists.

    Um, I do.

  51. Mostly because no one cares about terrorists.

    Um, I do.

    In the context of my meaning?

  52. What Mo said.

  53. I’d like to see someone like Limbaugh, Coulter or Malkin undergo waterboarding, and then explain that it’s really not a big deal at all.

    Steve Centanni did it, and it didn’t seem to change his opinion.

    No one is arguing whether it’s a “big deal”; clearly it is if it got KSM to spill the beans on his fellow terrorists in only a few minutes. The question is whether it’s acceptable to apply this kind of temporary discomfort to senior terrorists in order to get information that could save lives. In 2001, the CIA believed it was. A few years later, they decided it was not.

  54. In the context of my meaning?

    I think so, but not limited to just that. I also care that they tell us every stinking little terroristie thing they know, rat out all their little terror buddies, straighten up and go out to be productive members of society, instead of running around and causing trouble.

    Same thing with mere criminals who commit violent acts on a much smaller scale.

  55. A Saudi tribesman flees persecution in Saudi Arabia and ends up in Afghanistan in the wrong place, at the wrong time, knows virtually nothing about the war on terror. It’s like 1984.

    Why am I being persecuted??

  56. Oh, and you do realize, Mo, that I was paraphrasing an argument that I predict will come from the mouths of people who think waterboarding isn’t torture, right?

    I was agreeing with you and pointing out another form of torture that a journalist could do and brag about to his friends after only doing it for a few seconds. Just like there’s a difference between a banker paying a dominatrix to whip them and a jailer whipping a political dissenter. I figured, I’d point out the difference.

    Pretty much the only people I’m disagreeing with are TallDave and Guy Dienstag, both of whom don’t think waterboarding is torture. It’s entirely possible that nothing short of experiencing it would convince them of it.

  57. Right Guy, not only is waterboarding a way of extracting precise and accurate information, it’s a magical process that imbues its victims with the “right” morals and way of viewing the world.

  58. Just like there’s a difference between a banker paying a dominatrix to whip them and a jailer whipping a political dissenter

    Terrible analogy. A dominatrix’s client is an innocent, not a senior terrorist.

  59. “……and people think we need to bring back the Fairness Doctrine……

    What? Did I pick all liberals? If so, it’s purely by chance since I have no clue about their politics—except Olbermann, but he’s on the list because of his annoying mannerisms. I picked Lou Dobbs because of his idiotic economics and Chris Matthews because of one incident where he berated a field correspondent in the hurricain zone from the comfort of his studio.

    Geraldo (geez, I spelled it “Heraldo” like a moron) is there because he used to be an Emmy Award-winning journalist, and now he’s, well, Geraldo.

  60. If Leftists started rounding-up libertarians an Right-wingers and shipping us to Gitmo (and believe me, I’ve met my share of lefties here in the People’s Republic of Chicago who would just love to do that), I’m sure our debate about waterboarding would fall on the “Torture” side.

  61. I think so, but not limited to just that

    Really? I think putting a bullet in their head and dumping their body in a garbage can would have about the same emotional effect on me as watching someone step on a bug on You Tube.

    As to the information i suspect that anything gained under duress would be questionable intel at best…but i get that from that star trek NG episode when Picard gets tortured, so what the hell do I know.

  62. As to the information i suspect that anything gained under duress would be questionable intel at best…

    The CIA has been pretty adamant that the info from KSM was very good.

  63. mo, what it comes down to is that some libertarians trust the government more than others.

    unless liberals are involved, i mean. then obviously it’s socialists all the way down.

  64. If Leftists started rounding-up libertarians an Right-wingers and shipping us to Gitmo (and believe me, I’ve met my share of lefties here in the People’s Republic of Chicago who would just love to do that), I’m sure our debate about waterboarding would fall on the “Torture” side.

    Barry, there would be no Waterboarding until an environmental impact and water quality study were done. So really, we’re pretty safe.

  65. The CIA has been pretty adamant that the info from KSM was very good.

    The WMD and al Qaeda info they got from Curveball, less so.

  66. If Leftists started rounding-up libertarians an Right-wingers and shipping us to Gitmo

    I think the “rounding up and sending to Gitmo” part would be more of a problem.

    Again, the loss of freedom is itself an infliction of extreme distress. Would you rather be waterboarded 5 minutes or spend 5 years in prison?

    I’m fine with not waterboarding anyone else; it looks like AQ is on the run after having their camps smashed in Afghanistan and utterly discrediting their movement in Iraq. They haven’t successfully attacked us in a long.

    But if they set off a nuke and kill 100,000 people, I’m going to be for waterboarding every last goddamn one. And if that seems farfetched, let’s hope it is, but remember the 1993 WTC bomb would have killed 50,000 if it had worked right.

  67. Again, the loss of freedom is itself an infliction of extreme distress. Would you rather be waterboarded 5 minutes or spend 5 years in prison?

    How about both, TallDave?

  68. How about that guy whom they got to admit has brought a aviation radio into the hotel in the World Trade Center, presumably to provide GCA information? Remember him?

    OF course, it turned out that the radio actually belonged to an airline pilot and the guy who “found” it had lied about which room he had found the radio in. How many man weeks were wasted investigating that “conspiracy”?

  69. Paul,

    My point is that it’s fairly arbitrary to say we’ll inflict one kind of distress but not another, if we agree they are not different in degree.

  70. Terrible analogy. A dominatrix’s client is an innocent, not a senior terrorist.

    Well, also it is a voluntary transaction that should be made legal.

  71. joshua,
    There are five lights
    How many lights do you see?

  72. JC,

    Really? I think putting a bullet in their head and dumping their body in a garbage can would have about the same emotional effect on me as watching someone step on a bug on You Tube.

    On this, we strongly disagree.

  73. some libertarians trust the government more than others

    That’s because some libertarians recognize that governments have a few legitimate functions whereas others are just silly, authority-hating, non-objective anarchists.

    (ducks)

  74. *a category that none of the detainees at GitMo fall into, because they fought in a militia that refuses to follow the Geneva Convention, refusing to wear uniforms (and deliberately dressing as local civilians, targeting civilians and other targets specifically designated off limits by the GC, such as mosques).

    Except for those hundreds who weren’t, of course.

    The CIA has been pretty adamant that the info from KSM was very good.

    The Dept. of Education has been pretty adamant that our schools are improving. The DEA has been pretty adamant that we’re winning the war on drugs. The TSA has been pretty adamant that they’re making us safer. I could, of course, go on and on.

  75. My point is that it’s fairly arbitrary to say we’ll inflict one kind of distress but not another, if we agree they are not different in degree.

    TallDave has now ceased to argue that waterboarding is not torture.

    His argument has now morphed into “torture is no worse than imprisonment.”

    Since American POWs can be imprisoned…

    Would you rather be flogged twice on the soles of the feet with a metal cable, or spent 12 years in prison? If you pick the beating, does that prove the practice isn’t torture?

  76. Les,

    Except for those hundreds who weren’t, of course.

    I’ll bet I could get them to say they were.

    And I’ll be I could get three officers from the United States Army to believe them afterwards.

  77. There are five lights
    How many lights do you see?

    At this point, five. But I’m sure that there were only four.

  78. Terrible analogy. A dominatrix’s client is an innocent, not a senior terrorist.

    The subject of torture doesn’t change the definition of torture. If you mean to say that suspected terrorists deserve torture, you ought to say so. Don’t bother with all the “it’s not torture” blather.

  79. But if they set off a nuke and kill 100,000 people, I’m going to be for waterboarding every last goddamn one.

    The problem with this is that you trust the government to accurately discriminate between the guilty and the innocent when they have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of doing so.

  80. I’m fairly certain that Mr. Hutchins’ experience was downright comfortable compared to what the detainees faced.

    One of my colleagues who happened to work in MI said it was waterboarding, Battlefield Earth, waterboarding, Battlefield Earth for days on end with no reprieve. He had to ask for a transfer from Guantanamo because he couldn’t stand to be a party to that sort of practice.

  81. Barry,

    If Leftists started rounding-up libertarians an Right-wingers and shipping us to Gitmo (and believe me, I’ve met my share of lefties here in the People’s Republic of Chicago who would just love to do that), I’m sure our debate about waterboarding would fall on the “Torture” side.

    I am guessing the debate would center more around kidnapping and if the state has a right to kidnap people for their political beliefs. BTW, plenty of the folks like you meet here and around the DC Beltway.

    Paul,

    Barry, there would be no Waterboarding until an environmental impact and water quality study were done. So really, we’re pretty safe.

    Don’t forget the sensitivity classes! They have those to torture us with already.

  82. Art,

    One of my colleagues who happened to work in MI said it was waterboarding, Battlefield Earth, waterboarding, Battlefield Earth for days on end with no reprieve. He had to ask for a transfer from Guantanamo because he couldn’t stand to be a party to that sort of practice.

    That’s it! No more MI guys at Guantanamo Bay. Replace them with CAV folks and this will all smoothe out. I shall begin work on the memo first thing tomorrow, after coffee.

  83. Kudos to Hitchens and the other journalists mentioned upthread for having the guts to subject themselves to this.

    Maybe the Administration blowhards who advocated it and the Congresspeople who acquiesed would like to take a turn themselves.

  84. “If Leftists started rounding-up libertarians an Right-wingers and shipping us to Gitmo

    I think the “rounding up and sending to Gitmo” part would be more of a problem.”
    agreed, Talldave, but I still contend that torture is a slippery-slope that can bite you on the ass (or poor water up your nose) down the line….if we didn’t use waterboarding against the furshligenner NAZIS, I think we can leave it out of the picture today.

  85. The video is very enlightening. The procedure is not at all what I expected.

  86. “Frankly, I still don’t know why GWB just didn’t kill them all instead of loading them onto a plane and flying them to Cuba. Dumb shit.”

    That wins.

  87. Art-P.O.G.,

    I need your routing information so I can properly staff this memo.

    Montag

  88. I shall begin work on the memo first thing tomorrow, after coffee.

    Now, I love the Cav. But unitl I see a Cavalry LTC make it all the way through Battlefield Earth without passing out, I’ll still say that making detainees watch that movie is torture.

  89. On this general topic, I wonder if anything that was done to McCain in Vietnam counts as “torture” according to John Yoo.

    I think a large majority of the pro-waterboarding folks *know* that waterboarding is torture, they just don’t want to say so because admitting it would force us to remove waterboarding from our bag o’ tricks.

    I also think a lot of the pro-waterboarding folks really don’t care whether torture gives us any “actionable intelligence”. They like torture because they get hard-ons from the idea of inflicting pain on al-Qaeda types.

  90. Art-P.O.G.,

    So, if I get promoted AND we imagine that I am still in my first Branch, does that count?

  91. So, if I get promoted AND we imagine that I am still in my first Branch, does that count?

    Well, you’re asking me to imagine 3 hypotheticals because I know there’s no damn way you could make it through that movie all the way on your own.

    But on a serious note, that video of Hitchens was very enlightening.

  92. And if that seems farfetched, let’s hope it is, but remember the 1993 WTC bomb would have killed 50,000 if it had worked right.

    That’s the thing – terrorists and criminals are rather stupid people.

    Threats are prevented with old fashion investigated methods. Not by torture, not by monitoring the entire populations e-mail, not by installing 1000s of camera’s, and not checking grandma’s id at the airport.

  93. Torture will get you confessional, all right.

    The Inquisitors knew that. The NKVD knew that. The NVA knew that. The Khmer Rouge knew that.

    Those people sure did love them some confessions.

    Would you drive a car if you had to waterboard a guy before he would say the brakes worked?

  94. That’s the thing – terrorists and criminals are rather stupid people.

    I don’t agree with that. Some of them are rather cunning. There’s a whole range of intelligence among the criminal element, just like the gen. pop.

  95. The CIA has been pretty adamant that the info from KSM was very good.

    They must be less so when talking to the WaPo. Aparrently, I have to requote this since Guy failed reading comprehension (emphasis mine).

    To put it briefly, even the C.I.A. sources for the Washington Post story on waterboarding conceded that the information they got out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “not all of it reliable.”

    Threats are prevented with old fashion investigated methods. Not by torture, not by monitoring the entire populations e-mail, not by installing 1000s of camera’s, and not checking grandma’s id at the airport

    QFMT. That’s how we found Saddam and KSM.

  96. Write your congressperson and let him or her know that waterboarding and Battlefield Earth are not OK!

  97. But if they set off a nuke and kill 100,000 people, I’m going to be for waterboarding every last goddamn one. And if that seems farfetched,

    It’s not farfetched, it is likely to occur sometime in the not so far off distance. In all likelyhood it will be a biological or chemical weapon instead of nuclear. And it may not be the US, but it could be any large metropolitan city in the world.

    So let’s start with the proposition that some multi-million resident city becomes a wasteland in the next 30 years. What are you going to do about that without turning the US into a police state?

  98. You know what you need to have torture?

    Torturers.

    Anybody got a kid?

    What do they want to be when they grow up?

    This is about US, and who we are, and who we want to be.

  99. You know what you need to have torture?

    Torturers.

    Anybody got a kid?

    I’m a sick bastard, but I see a Monty Phython sketch coming out of this.

  100. That’s the thing – terrorists and criminals are rather stupid people.
    They’re a cowardly and superstitious lot, too. That’s why dressing in a giant bat costume scares the shit out of them.

  101. So let’s start with the proposition that some multi-million resident city becomes a wasteland in the next 30 years. What are you going to do about that without turning the US into a police state?

    I’d go further than that and ask:

    Which United States is more likely to be attacked and lose a city in this way?

    A United States that minds its own business and respects human rights and liberty, or Mirror Universe United States that tortures people, gleefully uses its conventional arms superiority to order the world to its own benefit [or, occasionally, Israel’s], keeps people in secret prisons, casually and openly debates whether or not to bomb other countries that don’t do what we want…etc?

  102. Really? I think putting a bullet in their head and dumping their body in a garbage can would have about the same emotional effect on me as watching someone step on a bug on You Tube.

    On this, we strongly disagree.

    You mean you think the emotional effect on Mr. Corning would actually be different?

  103. Also, will the police state that emerges after a WMD attack be any more effective at finding and stopping actual terrorists? A cop who can torture somebody on a hunch and get him to say whatever he wants is likely to produce a lot of useless info. Of course, it’s likely that this cop’s uselessness would never be appreciated, because after getting a suspect to name names he’d arrest those named and get them to confess.

    joe-

    Sadly, I think there are a lot of people who would be proud if their kids went into jobs where they “do the hard things that are necessary to keep America safe.”

  104. But if they set off a nuke and kill 100,000 people, I’m going to be for waterboarding every last goddamn one.

    Of course this is what all US proponents of torture are really interested in. Not “actionable intelligence,” not even confessions (which was the reason in past torture regimes), but revenge.

    When you go around getting excited about possibly getting revenge for future crimes that no one has committed yet (and may never), then you are bug-fuck bonkers.

  105. Well, Joe, we know what the MSM want to be. They want to be the torturers and the tortured.

    It’s absolutely hilarious that more journalists have been tortured in the name of investigating torture than actual detainees.

  106. Hey Abdul – You got a link this “According to our best sources, the US used waterboarding three times on detainees.”

    If the CIA director testifies that the CIA only waterborded three people; then people water boarded by the CIA (3) + people waterborded by CIA proxies (?) + people waterborded by other US agencies (?) = Only three times. Aso if a single peson is waterboarded two oe more times = one waterbording.

  107. “It’s really fucking sad that you can go to a place where self-described libertarians hang out and discover that torture is a “debatable” topic.”-thoreau

    So anything that anyone, anywhere, describes as torture must be considered torture forevermore and anyone who disagrees with that assessment is a vile SOB?

  108. So if you have hard evidence that the CIA used waterboarding a handful of times, that must mean that it is Standard Procedure for all WOT prisoners?

  109. It’s absolutely hilarious that more journalists have been tortured in the name of investigating torture than actual detainees.

    How do you know how many detainees have been tortured?

  110. So if you have hard evidence that the CIA used waterboarding a handful of times, that must mean that it is Standard Procedure for all WOT prisoners?

    If you have “hard evidence” that goes beyond “what the CIA admits,” I’d appreciate a link. There’s really no rational reason to trust the CIA to accurately self-report anything.

  111. Comparing torture to prison is interesting.

    I guess I am a little queasy torturing
    terrorists, but I guess maybe sorta it might maybe be ok.

    All I ask is that before you torture them
    or imprison them, that you prove they are
    terrorists.

    If they so obviously deserve this fate then
    it shouldn’t be that hard to prove they deserve it.

  112. No, JB, what is absolutely hilarious is that there are people who consider themselves wordly and skeptical of authority, who respond to a statement by a torturer about how often he’s tortured, and how badly, and whether he still tortures, and think “Okey doke. I guess that answers that question.”

    Dum de dum de dum de dum.

  113. “There’s really no rational reason to trust the CIA to accurately self-report anything.”

    Perhaps not, but that does not justify the logical leap that because they admitted to doing this a few times it means that they do this all the time. It is difficult to take your sides position’s seriously when you guys keep going off into tin-foil hat land at the slightest justification.

  114. Perhaps not, but that does not justify the logical leap that because they admitted to doing this a few times it means that they do this all the time. It is difficult to take your sides position’s seriously when you guys keep going off into tin-foil hat land at the slightest justification.

    Oh, I don’t know that they do it all the time. I would not accuse them of it, but I’d be shocked if they only did it three times. What we do know for a documented fact is the CIA lies to the public. It’s part of what they’ve been doing for the last 60 years.

    So, it’s really not “tin-foil hat land” to not trust what the CIA says or even to suspect the worst from the CIA. It’s more like “understanding patterns of dishonesty and amoral behavior over the CIA’s 60 year history” land.

  115. When is it expecting, Christopher? The darkness, I mean, you daft, over rated punk.

  116. Just so I’ve got this straight: our government and the brave people who serve in it would never, ever perform these completely defensible, thoroughly appropriate and necessary acts, and it is both insane and slanderous to say that they have.

    Is that about it?

  117. I will note that prisoners are probably not given a “safe” word. And a clear context in which they know this will stop if they demand. So what CH went through is in no way comparable to the experience of water-boarding that would occur in a non-voluntary non-demonstration version of the experience.

  118. kill the dumb peice of shit ,
    prisions of full of sexually charged assholes like him ,or let bin larden have him as a partner they both suck

  119. good ,hopefully to death we do not want him anyway

  120. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.