WLS radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller recently underwent waterboarding. His response after being strapped to the board and enduring the procedure was this:
"It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
He held out for 6 or 7 seconds before he threw up his little rubber toy cow indicating distress. Christopher Hitchens, a writer/commenter/liberal, also underwent the procedure last year for Vanity Fair and proclaimed.
"...if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."
He is also the author of the book "God is Not Great" in which he said of religion.
"It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species...and it is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge as well as comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs."
It was clear after waterboarding he was in touch with his "infantile needs" when he said.
"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"
If that isn't convincing enough then there is one more intrepid journalist who underwent the dreaded waterboarding this time for Playboy. Mike Guy had this to say after his experience which he managed to endure at least as long as Mancow. When asked whether it was torture he responded.
"you feel like you are in deep, deep ****,there is no jeopardy for me, the worst thing that can happen to me is I could have a heart attack and he has to get me back to life, but I me ,ya know, if the jeopardy is either you talk or you die then maybe that is torture...Man I'm buzzing (laughing)"
I found these accounts interesting to say the least. I am sure that outside of the scenes in horror movies like the SAW series or maybe the scene in Braveheart where William Wallace has his guts ripped out most don't have any idea of what torture is. Also those who don't swim or have never tried also would probably not have any idea of what water boarding could be like having never experienced the feeling of drowning. It is a horrible burning feeling when you breath water, the fear kicks in, and your heart starts racing because you fear death. The gagging, the gasping for breath, it isn't pleasant but interrogation regardless of the method isn't meant to be pleasant. It is meant to extract information and I think lumping all such methods together under the label "torture" especially using soft men (radio hosts, writers, and playboy journalists) as examples of why it is torture largely because they said it is so would be funny if it wasn't taken so serious. None of these men came close to dying or were harmed in any way. Hitchens did have some fear of his bed sheets smothering him but one can expect that of liberals, they fear a lot of things. I'm just glad he didn't go off on a tirade trying to ban bed sheets.
I'm sure water boarding isn't pleasant but I'm more than a little jaded with the idea that such comments of soft men should hold much water especially since our special forces go through this and worse in preparation for interrogation by very real enemies. Notice Mancow, Hitchens, and Guy the soft radio host, soft liberal writer, and Playboy journalist broke rather quickly. John McCain on the other hand suffered torture, he didn't break quickly. I certainly understand his aversion to the idea of anything smacking of torture because he suffered much worse than water boarding. Let us compare the experiences of the men above to those of John McCain. He was severely injured when he was captured, they didn't treat his wounds immediately rather the North Vietnamese, the gentle Geneva convention obeying folk they were, beat him over and over again while interrogating him to the point of death. Later they subjected him to a severe program of torture involving rope bindings and regular beatings and to this day he can not lift his arms above his head as a result. They broke John McCain, he even attempted suicide to escape it. It can most certainly be said without question he was tortured.
The difference between John McCain's torture and waterboarding in which no lasting harm is done is a matter of degree and method. It is that degree and method that leaves us to ask the question that if common rather soft easily broken citizens can survive waterboarding unscathed then how can it be torture? I personally think it dumbs down the idea of what torture is and deflates cases of obvious torture such as with John McCain. I can not get lost in grand moralizing about a procedure which when administered correctly causes the individual no harm. I don't think it should be the first method applied but I do see how having it as an option is useful and humane given the alternatives. If or when a terrorist is caught and we are fairly certain he has information about an event that will kill Americans then by all means water board him if he doesn't give it up through other methods. I'll not shed a tear for him and I'm sure he will be the most gently water boarded person in history.
Mancow Waterboarded, Admits It's Torture
Believe Me, It’s Torture - Christopher Hitchens
Playboy Does Waterboarding - Mike Guy
John McCain Bio Wikipedia