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I've Changed My Mind I Don't Want to Be Waterboarded Anymore

November 1, 2007

Q: What’s more disturbing than the definition of waterboarding our “elected” “leaders” like to openly and politely discuss in dulcet tones?

A: A frank explanation of real waterboarding:

Waterboarding is not a simulation. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral. [SWJ Blog: Waterboarding is Torture… Period]

Keep this in mind at all times as you consider words of Attorney General Nominee Mike Mukasey:

“I don’t know what’s involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Now, Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) thought those were weasel words. No wait, “a massive hedge,” he said. (They were.) But Whitehouse got the follow-up all wrong! He pressed Mukasey for an opinion on whether waterboarding was torture.

YOU: Ok, so what would your follow-up have been, smart ass?

ME: I was going to tell you anyway, but since you asked I’ll tell you anyway.

YOU: Uh… What?!

ME: Just read on…

Since Mukasey’s statement isn’t really all that unreasonable, one might have said: “Fair enough. But let’s just say the president authorized waterboarding, and it turns out that waterboarding is torture. As the chief law enforcement officer of the country, would you feel compelled to prosecute the president for that crime?”

And Mukasey’s answer would be, “Um no,” because he’s another one of them unitary executive types.

Your Montag has written about this before, back when we were confirming Justice Alito. I did so in the form of a football analogy which may be interesting in light of the Super Bowl incredibly over-hyped game coming up this Sunday.

And read the rest of that waterboarding link!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2007 7:01 PM

    Scott Horton, of Harper’s, asserts that any Attorney General-designate must say that waterboarding is NOT torture, because if he does not, then it is his responsibility to prosecute those who gave orders to commit torture.

    Horton says:

    The New York Times says the issue is one of legal culpability of those who have administered the program. In a speech I delivered in Ohio last October, “When Lawyers Are War Criminals,” I went over this analysis in some detail and concluded it was incorrect. The CIA personnel, military personnel and contractors all have immunity. But there is a class of persons who are probably not immunized in any effective way by the current statutes, namely the administration officials who authored this scheme: Dick Cheney, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Haynes and a handful of others. They are the figures “on the line” who are most adamant that Mukasey (or any substitute for Mukasey) provide them with the protection they feel they need.

    Hence, the debate around Michael Mukasey has really ceased to be about Michael Mukasey and his qualifications to serve as attorney general. It has become a debate about the torture issue. And protecting the authors of a criminal scheme from their certain ultimate fate: prosecution.

    In predicting prosecution as a “certain ultimate fate”, Horton supposes that the Bush/Cheney Administration will be followed by one which intends to enforce the law. I hope so, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. November 2, 2007 9:18 PM

    Overhyped, indeed. But I bet it will be better than next year’s SuperBowl.

    How about the weekend’s other big game…ManYoo vs. Arsenal. I’m hoping my Gunners can pull off a win and keep that number one spot. You’re a Newcastle fan, right? They have a better coach this year, and if Owen doesn’t break another foot or knee, you guys might do alright…

  3. November 5, 2007 11:06 AM

    M.C., phd: the Bush/Cheney Administration will be followed by one which intends to enforce the law. I hope so, but I’ll believe it when I see it I feel the same way. But I don’t think a president that toes the Party Line (whether R or D) will ever put much stock in the law. But we can hope.

    Agi: I don’t know if it lived up to the hype, but it was a good game. I’d follow Newcastle more if FSC showed the games live. I haven’t figure out how to know when they are on without actually looking at the cable guide thingy. I missed Man U & Arsenal, but I appreciate how a draw still comes out like a victory to one side and a loss to the other in soccer football.

  4. November 6, 2007 10:45 AM

    Yeah, that’s the problem with trying to find soccer on TV. Now that FSC shows Serie A games, they’ve decreased the number of English Premier League games they show. I recently added Setanta to my satellite package to ensure I get all the EPL games. They show a lot of rugby too, which can be kinda cool.

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