Describe waterboarding to me. Other than it "simulates drowning," as the media puts it.

Waterboarding consists of immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. By forced suffocation and inhalation of water, the subject experiences drowning and is caused to believe they are about to die.

In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, waterboarding precipitates a gag reflex almost immediately. The technique does not inevitably cause lasting physical damage. It can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, ultimately, death. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2006/04/05/open-letter-attorney-general-alberto-gonzales

A World War II account:

Chase J. Nielsen, one of the U.S. airmen who flew in the Doolittle raid following the attack on Pearl Harbor, was subjected to waterboarding by his Japanese captors. At their trial for war crimes following the war, he testified "Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again… I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death."

A more recent account:

In May 2008, journalist Christopher Hitchens had himself waterboarded in order to experience "as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like." Though sympathetic to those who believe that "when contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay."

Hitchens ultimately concluded after being subjected to it twice that "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."

You can read Chris' full account here. Or if you are a more visual being, click here to watch the video of his waterboarding experience.

"The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means," said retired Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence.

"The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

For all those (Dick Chaney, Condoleezza Rice, former-President G. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, etc.) who claim it's "not torture" and just an "interrogation technique," maybe you should have someone waterboard you.

Bottom line: IT'S TORTURE

Information from The Washington Post, The Columbia Journal for Transnational Law, Human Rights Watch, The New Yorker, ABC News, thinkprogress.org, Vanity Fair, CNN


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