Hitchens: “Waterboarding IS Torture”

Color me astonished!  I’ve never been a Hitchens’ fan.  In fact, if anything, I’ve loathed the man.  But even “broken clocks are right twice a day” and in this case, Hitchens gets it right.  Bush apologist, right-winger Hitchens decided to undergo waterboarding to see whether he would be convinced that it was torture.  He wrote about his experience in Vanity Fair:

“…Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding” was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as SERE… But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict….”

More below the Fold:

Hitchens had to sign this release before undergoing the waterboarding:

Water boarding” is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.”

He writes about his experiences in the article, which I would recommend that everyone who is sick at heart about America using torture would take the time to read.  Hitchens describes his experience in detail.  He also describes the arguments that have been stated on both sides of the case, and goes on to give his final conclusions, following his experience.  (There is also a link to a Video of Hitchens’ experience, but I can’t comment on that, as I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it at this point.) :

“…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…”  He goes on to describe more about the procedure and his thoughts during that time.  He said:  “…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…”  

One of the conclusions he reached based on his experience:

“…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…”

Sadly, we know there is such a thing as torture.  The saddest thing of all, at least for me, is that over the past few years, I’ve found out that it is something that our government has ordered to be carried out, even though it is something prohibited by the Constitution, by international law, and by simple morality.  


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  1. “Who could have predicted” we would come to this…

  2. to say these words:  There are now two things I fully agree

    with Hitchens about.  Who’da thunk it!

    So glad you caught this…and posted!!

    • brobin on July 2, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Hitchens has been a thorn in the side of all that is good and holy for many years, so it is a bit amazing to see him actually not carry the water for BushCo, but to use it against them.

    Not that the 20%’ers will care, of course.

    • Alma on July 2, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Thats happened a few times since Bushy got selected.

    Some agreements with Buchannan, and Barr, and something else with Hitchens a few months ago.

    I have to applaud Hitchens for actually going through it, not many would.  I hope his normal crowd is paying attention.

    • robodd on July 3, 2008 at 12:07 am

    heard from the east to west coast!

    WBing is torture.  Yes, we know.  What we now also know is that (a) the US was knowingly using chinese torture techniques that it knew would obtain false confessions and (b) didn’t care if the confessions were false, so long as we got “intelligence” that connected Iraq and al qaeda.  

    When will Hitchins and the rest of the country catch up on the latter two?

  3. from someone that would seem highly unlikely to do this.

    But I don’t think alot of the “wingers” have ever really embraced Hitchens. Certainly he’s been busy selling all their propaganda for the last few years, but he has a history of being all over the map politically.

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