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July 03, 2008



I suppose I admire Hitchens' balls relative to say Bill O'Reilly, or other pundits who claim waterboarding isn't torture, but would never submit to it. But I imagine Hitchens had himself pretty well convinced it really isn't torture, and had two separate safety valves built into the experiment.

Here's what's revealing about this. Hitchens had the ability to make it stop at anytime. He underwent only a few seconds of the treatment, and there was no interrogation involved. What he went through is much closer to the real thing than reading about it or watching a video, but still far from the treatment someone being subjected to so-called "harsh interrogation techniques" would receive. Despite this, Hitchens admits he's now having nightmares about the experience.

I've been on the wrong side of an unjustified arrest, and I know that I had nightmares for years afterward. I was grabbed by plainclothes cops and dragged into a broom closet where I was interrogated. (Long story, but I had done nothing wrong). I can only imagine the long-term effects of that experience if it had been coupled with "harsh interrogation techniques" like waterboarding.

Once a society decides that this kind of barbarism can be justified or ignored it corrupts its soul.


Pete, I totally agree with your sentiment. And these types of compromises are the ones that people will remember down the road, and as you mention, in many cases for traumatic reasons.

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