Some thoughts on waterboarding

I waterboard! – Straight Dope Message Board — A guy who once swam underwater until he lost consciousness (on purpose) pours the water over his own face. His reaction: “It took me ten minutes to recover my senses once I tried this. I was shuddering in a corner, convinced I narrowly escaped killing myself.”


Christopher Hitchens waterboarded – Believe Me, It’s Torture (video). He writes: “… if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

A note from Hitchens on whether you can cheat at waterboarding: ‘What I do recall clearly, though, is a hard finger feeling for my solar plexus as the water was being poured. What was that for? “That’s to find out if you are trying to cheat, and timing your breathing to the doses. If you try that, we can outsmart you. We have all kinds of enhancements.”’


Former Navy Seal waterboarded — Short VersionFull Version (24 minutes) It appears that he sometimes lasts for thirty or forty seconds before full panic sets in, but the interogators also talk about him holding his breath, so it’s possible he cracked within a few seconds of actually trying to breathe. He does get credit for resisting their questions through repeated 10-40 second sessions of waterboarding.


Playboy journalist — lasts six seconds.


UPDATE: 22 May 2009: Radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller calls waterboarding torture after lasting less than ten seconds.


UPDATE: 12 November 2010: A writer for the Sun newspaper lasts 12 seconds, says that “This is no ‘interrogation technique’ but torture pure and simple”

I have to say, 24 is a lot less entertaining these days when Jack Bauer says “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, then it’ll just be a question of how much you want it to hurt.”


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