Friday, May 22, 2009

Right-wing shock jock admits it

Waterboarding is torture:

It the consensus of my particular household that anyone who seems to think waterboarding is not torture should at bare minimum allow themselves to experience what Eric "Mancow" Muller goes through on the video above. Keep a few things in mind.

1. "Mancow", unlike an actual torture victim, knew what to expect.

2. Unlike an actual torture victim, "Mancow" was relatively unrestrained, and could escape the situation at any time he felt too uncomfortable.

3. "Mancow" will undoubtedly remember his relatively tame encounter with waterboarding for life - it even brought up memories of having drowned as a kid. Imagine the psychological scarring that occurs to those who don't have the luxury of being able to escape, and hence undergo the rather horrid process for far longer durations.

More on the story can be found here. For what it's worth, I am guessing "Mancow" held up as well as any normal human being would, so for those expecting some sort of snide remark from me, forget it. What I do hope instead is that "Mancow" never forget his experience, never forget that for those who are really being waterboarded that the experience is in no uncertain terms torture, and that he has had a permanent change of mind on what the right-wing media has dismissed as merely nothing more than "hazing."

Josh Marshall sez:

The upshot is that the guy goes into it in cocky Hannity mode and then after maybe 5 or 6 seconds he struggles up and he's converted, claiming it's "absolutely torture", that he never realized it was that bad, etc.

Now, here's the thing. I'm genuinely surprised that he was was surprised that it was that bad. I'm not saying that for effect. Muller really seemed to think it was like getting dunked by your friend in a pool or something. Just factually, everyone who knows anything about this says that it's horrific and you pretty much instantly feel like you're drowning and at the edge of death. And it's a physiological response. So even if you've gone through it ten times and know rationally that you don't die, it doesn't matter. You're instantly put back into the mental space of drowning and being at the edge of death.

I must confess that when I see Hannity or the rest of these guys saying it's no big deal and it's not torture, I kind of figured they're playing semantic games and essentially saying 'I don't care what we do to evil Muslim terrorist bad guys.' Hang them from them toes, waterboard them, whatever, who cares? I don't agree with that. It's hideous. But I understand it. But here it turns out they're just completely ignorant, just haven't been paying attention. Just in the purest factual sense have no idea what they're talking about.

Ignorance (a fair amount of which is willful), I suspect, is a good deal of what fuels much of the pro-torture rhetoric.

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