Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded

Discussion in 'Politics' started by D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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    Christopher Hitchens is a complex guy. He's 59-years-old. He's an old-school man of letters, a fierce and eloquent debater, a drunk, a heavy smoker and an first-rate intellectual: author, journalist, classicist, literary critic.

    He calls himself a "radical" instead of liberal. A former "Trotskyist". His heros are George Orwell, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. And he knows his world history like nobody's business. He's a political observer, an "anti-theist" who wrote the bestseller "God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything".

    He describes himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason.

    --------------------

    I've read Christopher Hitchens and trust Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens has always defended civilization against terrorists and totalitarian dictatorships (he was heavily influenced by Orwell). Hitchens supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Neocons never trusted Hitchens because he wrote scathingly about Ronald Reagan (their hero) and he refused to be associated with him.


    Hitchens rejected the idea that waterboarding is "torture" (just as many conservatives do).

    The magazine Vanity Fair asked him to be waterboarded (just as Keith Olbermann is asking Sean Hannity to be waterboarded) --- and here is his response.

    Hitchens' hands were cuffed by professional handlers, he was hooded and spun around to disorient him, then...


    From Vanity Fair:

    "You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board” is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered. This was very rapidly brought home to me when, on top of the hood, which still admitted a few flashes of random and worrying strobe light to my vision, three layers of enveloping towel were added. In this pregnant darkness, head downward, I waited for a while until I abruptly felt a slow cascade of water going up my nose...."


    Believe Me, It's Torture | vanityfair.com


    As if detecting my misery and shame, one of my interrogators comfortingly said, “Any time is a long time when you’re breathing water.” I could have hugged him for saying so, and just then I was hit with a ghastly sense of the sadomasochistic dimension that underlies the relationship between the torturer and the tortured. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.

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    I will remember those words.

    Waterboarding is not "simulated" drowning. You are drowning. Water is going down the throat and up the nose and you're drowning until the procedure is stopped.

    Besides waterboarding being illegal, it is being proven to provide highly unreliable information. Enemy combatants simply say anything, anything, to make it stop.

    Here is an NPR history of waterboarding:

    Waterboarding: A Tortured History : NPR
     
  2. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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  3. midlifebear

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    I'm rather fond of Christopher Hitchens. And bully for him to test the waters, so to speak, willing to let himself be found wrong. I'm willing to admit when I'm completely wrong on a subject. It's something you have to learn so that you don't live deluded in bad faith.

    I agree that Hitchens knows the rules and the territory. He's a refreshing reminder of old school scholarship that's almost extinct these days.
     
  4. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    When I read the article last summer I though it was horrific but the video is unbearable. I love Christopher Hitchens.
     
  5. houtx48

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    star and face don't know who he is but how could you not like ronald reagan
     
  6. Joll

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    His brother (Peter Hitchens) is the complete opposite - extremist, very right-wing, tee-total, non-swearing, etc. He writes lots of 'outraged' articles over here. Can't see him volunteering for (or disagreeing with) waterboarding, lol.

    Think they must've had a really strict religious upbringing and reacted in different ways or something...
     
  7. Phil Ayesho

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    Hitchens is intelligent, but not immune from delusional beliefs.

    He supported the war in iraq from early on... and has had a difficult time reconciling his arguments with reality... still imagines a connection between al queda and Saddam...
    However, I think his desire to see the war as defensible is rooted in his very real and cogent cocenr over the dangers of religious fundamentalism - and particularly the radical wahabist right...

    However... in most respects he is, at least, intellectually honest.
    It's a hard thing to change your public stance on torture... but I am sure he would not have agreed to be water-boarded if he had any inkling how awful it can be.

    And the idea that we subjected at least one of the detainees to 187 sessions of it must truly make Hitchens understand the additional horror added by the anticipation of relentless torture.


    Cheney's defenses of it are being revealed to be a tissue of lies... dates that do not agree with actions, and claims of information gathered that were never substantiated and led to ZERO arrests.

    Zubiydah gave up all the useful info he gave up BEFORE being tortured...
    And 187 application of torture did not reveal a single additional piece of actionable info.

    That the FBI pulled out of the program, characterizing it as criminal... that the administration had numerous memos from senior military staff specifically calling this an illegal torture program...
    ...its a shocking indictment of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush... revealing of their utter lack of moral character, and explains why the past 8 years turned into the rampant graft cronyism and outright theft that it did.
     
  8. superbot

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    The guy is the very personification of a pseudo~intellectual,with a massive chip on his shoulder.No one here in the UK takes him that seriously,I think he loves a headline.His attack on Mother Teresa went down VERY badly over here which is maybe why he prefers to stay over there.! I sincerely hope that he doesn't see himself as the George Orwell of the 21st century?!!!!
     
  9. B_Hung Jon

    B_Hung Jon New Member

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    It's difficult to watch such an intelligent and creative man as Christopher Hitchens suffer at all. It's somewhat like seeing a great piece of art destroyed.
     
  10. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    Do we have proof that these masked men administered the technique properly?

    This doesn't seem like responsible journalism. What if there had been complications and Hitchens died or suffered some type of permanent damage? Would that be Cheney's fault?

    Were the masked men veterans of war or prison guards that had actually specialized in waterboarding?

    Were the water quantities consistent with those used in the interrogations?

    I'm not implying that waterboarding doesn't constitute torture.

    However, the context of this piece is misleading. Surely you will evoke a different emotion from the viewer by waterboarding a 59 year old journalist than you would a 24 year-old Islamic extremist who wishes death to the U.S. and death on your women and children.

    Just sayin.
     
  11. midlifebear

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    Actually, he's become an 'Mericuhn citizen. But I thought his attacks of Lady Di were much worse than his criticism of Mother T.
     
  12. mindseye

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    Now there's a loaded, judgemental statement.

    On the other hand, surely it's less disturbing to watch a journalist retain complete control over his waterboarding experience -- having both a safe word ("red") and a safe action (dropping the metal bars) -- and having the freedom to choose absolutely when the torture will end.
     
  13. D_Davy_Downspout

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    hahaha, you're a terrible person

    not as terrible as the people who are actually doing this to prisoners, but you're like a defense lawyer at Nuremburg

    how do you sleep at night?
     
  14. D_Davy_Downspout

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    Waterboarding is torture because we've(the USA) called it torture when other countries did it. People who have been tortured call it torture. If you're at the point now where you're arguing the finer points of something that used to be called torture, trying to explain how it's not torture when WE do it, you need to take a long hard look at yourself.
     
  15. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Making political debate personal is quite unbecoming. You always seem to call individual ppl vs. just providing more than one line call outs.

    So please, let's not stop there. We need to go after anyone and EVERYONE who is still alive via Vietnam Era, Gulf War, Korean War and World War II whom carried out torture tactics. Many are acting like this is the first time this has ever happened... like Halliburton just invented it yesterday. Besides, waterboarding is nothing... compared to grabbing a handful of North Vietnamese and pushing them out one by one from a helicopter at 800 ft until one talks.
     
  16. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    Where did I say it wasn't torture?

    Under your definition of a justice system, are the guards at Abu Ghraib not to be considered innocent until proven guilty - just as the suspected terrorists that you crusade for?

    How would you suggest we obtain intelligence from terrorist cells? Send a Hallmark card requesting an organizational chart of the terrorist cell to one of the extremists?
     
  17. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    No idiot, you wait until they attack and take out a slew of ppl, then research the body fragments and used weaponry. It's called "terrorist forensics". Duh.
     
  18. D_Davy_Downspout

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    You're a terrible person. You're condoning torture.

    I'm not crusading for anyone. Even if terrorists are guilty, and I'm sure most of them are, they have a right to a fair trial and to be treated like humans, not animals.

    And you're a small, small man, that you can't see anything between "torture" and "hallmark card". You must have the political mind of a 12 year old. Any idiot at the Mossad, which has forgotten more about getting information from terrorists than any US agent will ever know, will tell that you do not get reliable intel from torture. You get it from intelligent interrogation. Not the "enhanced" kind. I'm sure even an intellectual infant like you can connect dots on why that is.

    "These people are animals and want to do terrible things, which is why we must do terrible things" what? You're no better than them.
     
  19. D_Davy_Downspout

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    I absolutely love you armchair terrorist experts, proudly flying in the face of decades of experienced men and women, who do this for a living, who say you're wrong.
     
  20. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    I see. If we use big words and correct grammar, only THEN will the extremists begin singing about their financiers and attack planners.

    Perhaps Frazier and Niles Crane are available for these interrogations.

    If you seriously think that a fanatical extremist that hates the U.S. is going to engage in an intelligent interrogation session, you are out to lunch in a big way.

    We have never made progress of any kind through diplomacy or 'intellectual' conversations with terrorists, and never will.

    Its a great soundbite, but it doesn't work. Never has, never will.

    So, you can either deal with reality and face the unfortunate truths of the situation, or you can hide behind an ideology that has been proven false hundreds of times throughout the world 100% of the time.
     
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