Eric Holder Was "Mesmerized" and "Repulsed" by Video of Christopher Hitchens Waterboarding


at first i was like…

The Telegraph writes up the soon-to-be-released "Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency" by Daniel Klaidman, focusing on a confrontation the book detailed between Eric Holder and David Axelrod over the placement of politicial apparatchiks in the Department of Justice. "I'm not Karl Rove," David Axelrod at some point declared, apparently with a straight face. Valerie Jarrett had to break the two up.

But the more interesting anecdote about Eric Holder comes later in the article:

Klaidman also discloses that the work of Christopher Hitchens, the late British author, influenced the decision by Mr Obama's administration to overhaul its rules on interrogating terror suspects.

Hitchens was waterboarded for an article and video titled "Believe me, it's torture" and published by Vanity Fair in 2008. He could bear only ten seconds before asking that it be stopped.

"Watching the video," Klaidman writes, "Holder was both mesmerised and repulsed." The attorney general became "increasingly convinced that he would need to launch an investigation".

Mr Obama banned waterboarding – in which detainees are made to feel they are drowning – and other techniques after coming to office in 2009, while Mr Holder launched an inquiry into past practices.

Someone please send Holder video of drone strikes hitting a funeral in Pakistan or something, pronto.

Reason on drones.

H/T to commenter John for the article, under the A.M. Links