Believe Me, It's Torture

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 03 Jul 2008 14:26:23 GMT  <== Politics ==> 

Christopher Hitchens at Vanity Fair - Mr. Hitchens gets himself waterboarded, and reports that it most definitely IS torture, no matter what the Busheviks say about it. And he KNEW they weren't going to kill him. [root]

... 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.

This is because I had read that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, invariably referred to as the "mastermind" of the atrocities of September 11, 2001, had impressed his interrogators by holding out for upwards of two minutes before cracking. (By the way, this story is not confirmed. My North Carolina friends jeered at it. "Hell," said one, "from what I heard they only washed his damn face before he babbled.") But, hell, I thought in my turn, no Hitchens is going to do worse than that. Well, O.K., I admit I didn't outdo him. And so then I said, with slightly more bravado than was justified, that I'd like to try it one more time. There was a paramedic present who checked my racing pulse and warned me about adrenaline rush. An interval was ordered, and then I felt the mask come down again. Steeling myself to remember what it had been like last time, and to learn from the previous panic attack, 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." I could have hugged him for saying so, and just then I was hit with a ghastly sense of the sadomasochistic dimension that underlies the relationship between the torturer and the tortured. 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.

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Comments (2):

jog back on line

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 08 Jul 2008 09:41:46 GMT

off topic, sorry, but thought you'd like to know:

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I know

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Tue, 08 Jul 2008 12:29:22 GMT

I know. I talked to one of the guys who's doing the work to keep alive. Grabbe himself is still dead, and I doubt there's anybody who could gather interesting links as fast as he did, but it's still an interesting site.

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