Mancow Waterboarding V. Real Waterboarding

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Yesterday a good thing happened, one of the Conservative talk radio torture apologists had himself waterboarded and after six seconds of it he was ready to call it what it is, torture, pure and simple. The Dog thinks this is a good first step, but we are not at the level where people realize how bad it is. What the Mancow had done to him was superficially like the waterboarding torture that we inflicted on Abu Zabaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohamed but it was in no way the full blow thing.  

In an effort to show what it is like for those men the Dog has written the following first person perspective of being waterboarded. Just a friendly warning, for those who may have endured torture, this could be triggering, so read with caution.

Your feet are shackled, and so are your wrists. When you were lead into the room you saw that it did not have the usual table, this room had a board, and a drain in the floor. You are blindfolded by the guards and roughly forced to lie on the wet wooden board. Even though you are shackled they tie you down to the board with three ropes, one across your chest, on across your waist and one across your legs. You are now completely unable to move, your head is below the level of your feet making the blood rush to your head.

You can hear them moving around and hear a hose running, filling a bucket of water. Your heart begins to race as your mouth is forced open and a wet rag is stuffed inside. There is enough clothe that it fills your mouth, and prevents your teeth from meeting, even at the back of your mouth. You feel a person sitting next you on the board, and they put their hands on your stomach, just above your diaphragm and push down, keeping you from taking a deep breath through your nose. You sense someone else standing above your head, and then the water starts to pour over your face. Not a little, but a torrent of water, it is running up your nose, and you can not breath! Your gag reflex kicks in, but the rag in your mouth does not let you gag.

Your body begins to convulse, convinced in the most primitive of reflexes to try to do anything to get more air! You thrash but the ropes and shackles have you completely immobilized.  You feel the water hitting your face, as the person on the bench presses down on your diaphragm, forcing what little air you have out, not in. You are now sure that you are going to die, that you are going to drown, not an abstract, but for real, and right now. Your chest buns with the need for more air, your eyes tear under the blindfold as you struggle to get one more breath.

You are no longer a rational human, you are now just a survival machine, ready to beg anyone, do anything to make the pain stop and get just one more breath. The water stops falling on you. You suck air in through your nose and try to suck it in through you mouth. Both bring more water along with the small amount of air you can get. You hear the hose running again and know that this is not over, it is just starting. Your heart is going like a trip hammer, and you are in a state of terror, like nothing you have ever experienced or thought of. You know if and when they ask you something, you will do or say anything, anything to prevent them from doing it again. Then the hands push on your stomach, and the water starts falling again.

You struggle, trying to hold your breath, but the gag reflex kicks in again, and again you become more animal than man as you struggle for breath your body wracked with pain and convulsively struggling to get free to breath.

As you can see what Mancow did and what is being shown all over the TV is a very sanitized version of the real act of torture. He was not tied down to the board, he could make it stop at any time, he knew he would not die, he knew there were EMT’s standing by to assist him. The men we tortured with waterboarding had none of this. Worse they had been subjected to other torturous interrogation techniques prior to this heinous act.

There is no excuse for this, there can be no extenuating circumstances for these acts of torture. We received no intelligence that saved lives from the 186 times we tortured Khalid Sheik Mohamed or the 83 times we tortured Abu Zabaydah. Even if we had there can be no acceptance of this kind of completely inhuman acts. Former Vice President Cheney is a War Criminal. Everyone who participated and ordered theses acts must be investigated and tried for their State Sponsored Torture program.

We made a good step forward yesterday, but we are far from done. Do not let those you would talk to minimize this act of torture, if you must show them the description above so they understand how horrible this really is. It is, perhaps, the only way we will get the accountability these crimes require.

The floor is yours.  


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  1. but it is not one one thousandth as hard as it would be to live through it once, let alone over and over and over again.  

  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.

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