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December 13, 2008

A Brief History of Waterboarding (genghis)

Update: Might as well be an overnight thread as well, now that Gabe's on the run from the Mexican Mafia. Treat yourselves to a flame war as well. It's overdue...haven't had one since before the election. It's a free for all. When I wake up, I expect to see no less than 500 comments, but hopefully less than half will be from WickedPinto.

(As presented by Newsweek authors Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball. I dare you not to to make fun of that last name…or the sporty ‘stache he has.)

The title of the piece is ”Breaking the Will.” Straightforward, but a few choice quotes:

:”The Senate Armed Services report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques—including forcing detainees to stand naked, subjecting them to growling dogs and depriving them of sleep—were discussed by top members of the National Security Council and other senior administration officials inside the White House. Some officials expressed strong concerns about the legality of the methods. But the techniques were ultimately given the green light, based on government assessments that showed such methods were quick and effective in breaking down the resistance of U.S. military officers who were subjected to them in so-called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes.”

Stand naked and be subjected to growling dogs? Some people pay good money for that experience. Also reminds me of a very memorable scene from the movie “Caligula” (the Penthouse one), but no need to go there.

Newsweek’s definition of waterboarding:

”Waterboarding is a method of simulated drowning that involves strapping down a subject and pouring water into his nose and mouth. As the subject gasps for breath, the water enters his lungs, inducing extreme panic within minutes. These and other SERE techniques were developed from methods used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War. At the time, the United States denounced the Chinese for violating the Geneva Conventions and international law.

Maybe I’m confused (and if I am I’ll retract or update), but if water enters your lungs, aren’t you actually drowning? As opposed to simulated drowning? Honestly, I don’t know exactly how it works. KSM apparently lasted 3 or more minutes under the practice and he didn’t exactly look like a member of the varsity swimming team. (more like a cross between Al Sharpton and Bluto) If you do…school us. And if water is entering your lungs, would panic ensue within minutes? How 'bout immediately?

Artists depiction of waterboarding

Tagged on: "Fresh Air" notes, in the comments, the Christopher Hitchens article in Vanity Fair where he underwent his own waterboarding. It's a little whiny, and I suppose some water vapor might actually enter your lungs. But then again, it does so on any given misty day. The Newsweek article gives the impression you've been intubated (see, I watch ER...'cept it sucks now) with a firehose fully open. Not so much though...it's more like a wet washcloth over your mouth, but the panic probably mostly results from the fact that you're on your back, tilted on your "waterboard" head down, blindfolded and in the presence of people who will fuck you up at a moment's notice. And according to Hitch, listening to bad Eurodisco. That'd break anyone right there. The wet cloth over your face is just the cherry on top.

(Sorry to push down your post on the shot-up Bentley, Gabe. You were wearing gloves when you did that…weren’t you? You might want to hide out for a bit until we can raise the funds to extricate you from the country. You like Mexican food, no? Not claustrophobic I hope…it’ll be a tight squeeze for you in that little welded box we have beneath the ’78 Chevy conversion van we’re taking you across the border in.)

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posted by xgenghisx at 01:33 AM

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