Water what?

waterboarding.jpgThere’s a poll at the Idaho Statesman tonight – (middle column, almost to the bottom)

Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey has come under fire from some Democrats because he refused to classify “waterboarding,” an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, as torture. Do you consider waterboarding a form of torture?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t know
  • In some circumstances
  • The results following my vote of ‘fuck, yeah’…… 43 382 people had voted (and this is not scientific). The initial poll results are striked; second set of results clear.

  • Yes = 42% 48%
  • No = 37% 30%
  • Don’t know = 19% 18%
  • In some circumstances = 2% 4%
  • Okayy….for those who missed my bit of an offering on Torquemada – there’s quite a dramatization of waterboarding in one of the links. I’d suggest that those who don’t think it’s torture be forced to undergo such a dramatization upon them. Then we’ll let them retake the poll.

    I’d also like to know how it is that someone doesn’t consider the act of simulated drowning – meaning actions are performed that makes one THINK they ARE drowning – as a torture. I’ve come close to drowning; it’s not a pleasurable experience. It’s pretty goddamned scary.


    Then an interesting find at Velvet Revolution, a piece about waterboarding with video, complete with some cheesy music. Oh, it’s supposed to be a ‘music video’ – well, then – use another genre of music or at least another song. Okay – get past the music……whew. One thing that is a tad poignant is the recitation of the after effects medically and psychologically for the individual who underwent the ‘torture.’

    Since Attorney General designate Michael Mukasey can’t figure out if waterboarding constitutes torture, we are going to help him out. Brett Kimberlin, the Director of Justice Through Music, a co-founder of VR, wanted to know and to show the public actual waterboarding and torture. He therefore agreed to be the subject of a music video featuring various means of torture approved by U.S. officials and used by military personnel over the past few years.

    The forced over-wroughtness of the video somehow doesn’t seem too consistent with this, “Following the torture session, I was hobbled for three weeks, had scars on my wrists for months, and contracted a life threatening respiratory infection and shingles for which I had to seek medical treatment. I still have nightmares about the torture even though I knew that I would get out alive.

    I don’t know, maybe the cheesy nature of it all is just hitting me wrong. Maybe I just need to lighten up a bit.


    And then, I discovered this piece from ‘Small Wars Journal’, a site made up of some Marines (Gyrines, we used to call them – I don’t know; I was stoned a lot in my younger years is the best I can offer):

    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.

    Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation.

    One has to overcome basic human decency to endure watching or causing the effects. The brutality would force you into a personal moral dilemma between humanity and hatred. It would leave you to question the meaning of what it is to be an American.

    Read Malcolm Nance’s piece and see why I think the piece at VR is buffoonery and does us no favors. Mr. Nance also presented the same as an abbreviated editorial on waterboarding in the New York Daily News in which he defines some of his credentialing.



    5 Responses

    1. The VR site wouldn’t open for me, but I’m glad it didn’t. From your description, your reaction would have been mine.

      I have seen video of a reporter submitting, in a controlled setting, waterboarding. I will never be able to erase it from my mind.

      GHWB, “Poppy,” was recently shown tearing up as he remember a time when our soldiers acted with dignity and and even compassion to our war captured. This criminal and sire of criminals was especially affected as he watched video of our military say to Iraqi hostages, “Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you.”

      The torture practices, the sadistic crimes of them, is a stain on this country that will NEVER be washed away. Even if our country can regain its footing, the United States will forevermore be the country that tortures.

      The practice of torture may in part explain the rise of suicides among our servicepersons in country and returned home.

      Excellent post. We must tell this story again and again and again.

    2. I fixed the VR link. If you would, please watch it and tell me what you think. I crosspost at Les Enrages and one of the people I trust the most for an honest assessment is Jump.

    3. I watched the vid.
      While I laud all efforts to educate about torture, especially torture sanctioned by our gov’t and practiced by its representatives, to me the video trivializes torture. The music and the acting is simplistic in the extreme.
      Males and females process trauma differently. I expect that this vid appeals to young males. I do not mean this as anti-male. It is simply a statement of fact, and here the word ‘young’ is most important. It may be simply that I am nearing 40 and female that causes me to think that enactments such as in this video do more harm then good.

    4. What most baffles me is the “in some circumstances,” option. It either is or it isn’t, and if you (“you” being an imaginary person answering the question) for some reason think it’s justified “in some circumstances,” you’d damn well better be aware that you’re saying that torture is sometimes justified.

    5. I know, Sara. ‘In some circumstances’ fudges the issue and the answer for someone. It’s a ‘yes’ for someone and for whatever reason they cannot be forthright in admitting their answer is actually “yes.”

      (I understand that imaginary ‘you’ – the general ‘you’ IOW. Unlike German and other languages, there is no equivalent for the personal/intimate you [du] and the impersonal/general you [sie]. It’s pretty obvious to me we need it)

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