Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Torture, Schmorture

Enough with all the cowardly liberal hysteria over a little water on the face. Let's listen to a counterrorism expert whose job it is to subject U.S. soldiers to actual waterboarding in training them how to resist torture.

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.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

There, you see? Now do you understand why Ben Chandler (DINO-KY 6) and Hillary Clinton voted to allow the U.S. to torture enemy prisoners, thus exposing U.S. soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen to torture at the hands of the enemy?

TPMmuckraker publicized the above description from a former Navy Instructor as a primer for Attorney General nominee Mike Mukasey, who claims not to know whether waterboarding is torture.

(More after the jump.)

Mukasey should listen to longtime counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance. Nance, a veteran of counterterrorism operations in Iraq, has written a moving post for the counterinsurgency blog Small Wars Journal explaining, in more detail than anyone else has in public, what exactly waterboarding is. And Nance knows what he's talking about. As a former instructor at the Navy's training program, Nance (full disclosure, a TPMm pal) confesses that he "personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people" -- not detainees, of course, but would-be SEALs, so they could learn how (hopefully) to resist torture. That training program, known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE), became a template for how to abuse detainees in U.S. custody.

Nance's experience leads him to some sharp conclusions:

"Waterboarding is a torture technique. Period. There is no way to gloss over it or sugarcoat it. It has no justification outside of its limited role as a training demonstrator. Our service members have to learn that the will to survive requires them accept and understand that they may be subjected to torture, but that America is better than its enemies and it is one’s duty to trust in your nation and God, endure the hardships and return home with honor."

After the chilling description above, Nance writes:

"Call it “Chinese Water Torture,” “the Barrel,” or “the Waterfall,” it is all the same. Whether the victim is allowed to comply or not is usually left up to the interrogator. Many waterboard team members, even in training, enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer and often ask questions as an after thought. These people are dangerous and predictable and when left unshackled, unsupervised or undetected they bring us the murderous abuses seen at Abu Ghraieb, Baghram and Guantanamo. No doubt, to avoid human factors like fear and guilt someone has created a one-button version that probably looks like an MRI machine with high intensity waterjets."

There have been a lot of calls in the liberal blogosphere for waterboarding apologists to undergo the procedure themselves. See if they think it's torture then.

Much as I wish Chandler, Clinton and the rest to live to deeply regret their un-American, un-Constitutional, anti-military, inhumane votes, I cannot wish waterboarding on them.

I'm a proponent of the death penalty, but after reading Nance's description, I wouldn't wish waterboarding on anyone.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.