Christopher Hitchens underwent waterboarding last February. He puts a lie to the notion that waterboarding “simulates drowning.” After undergoing this act, he claims waterboarding is no mere simulation. It’s drowning. “It would be bad enough if they did have something—suppose they wanted to know the where a relative of yours was, or a lover, say, ‘well, I’m going to betray them now, because this has to come to an end; I can’t take this anymore.’” Hitchens then goes on to pose the unthinkable: what if they got the wrong guy? Then, he posits, such a person would be in real danger of losing his or her mind.
Yet, even after undergoing waterboarding, Hitchens still has the composure—some might say “audacity”—to write this:
When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay. No thumbscrew, no pincers, no electrodes, no rack. Can one say this of those who have been captured by the tormentors and murderers of (say) Daniel Pearl? On this analysis, any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down. I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.
~Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair, August, 2008
I’ll spare you a beheading video to punctuate Hitchens’ point. They can really ruin your whole day.