Believe Me, It’s Torture

Christopher Hitchins – memorably described as a ‘drink-soaked Trotskyist popinjay’ by George Galloway – has argued that there are degrees of ‘extreme interrogation’, not all of which amount to torture, in response to the furore surrounding the revelation of American’s use of water-boarding as a means of interrogation.

Vanity Fair invited him to be filmed being water-boarded to see if it refined his views on the practice. He agreed to it. You can watch the video here.

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4 Responses to Believe Me, It’s Torture

  1. Pete says:

    Dislike Christopher Hitchens as I do, that video is heinously hard to watch.

    I hope I am never, ever tortued for any reason…

  2. Richard says:

    I think you should be fairly safe Pete, unless some future stasi-esque government takes a strong dislike to jazz performed by the hirsute

    I’m not a particular admirer of Hitchins, but at least he puts his money where his mouth is.

    Although to really capture the experience, he would have had to undergo water-boarding without a safety net. Surely the most terrifying thing about the whole experience would be your absolute lack of control?

    What troubles me about Hitchins and other supposedly intelligent apologists for what is at best ‘extreme interrogation’ is the apparent lack of imagination for the immense distress such practices cause people, which is bad enough for people who are guilty of heinous crimes, let alone innocent people harbouring no military intelligence to give.

    Not to mention the sadistic mentality of people who are drawn to interrogation jobs.

  3. Ms Hush-Hush says:

    My God, that blew me away.

    I like Christopher Hitchins and have read quite a lot of his work. Agree that the presence of a ‘safety net’ does somewhat neuter the full terror of the situation, but as just watching it scared the shit out of me, I admire him for doing it and being able to then describe first hand the absolute horror of it.

    Two things: what the hell do the Americans think they’re doing employing such techniques? I’m sure every country has at some point carried out such actions for intelligence purposes, but in this day and age? And secondly, who the bloody hell applies for a job like that?

  4. Richard says:

    If you think that’s nuts, Ms Hush-Hush, you should have a read of Jon Ronson’s book ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’.

    (I plug Ronson so often he should start paying me.)
    It certainly provides some enlightenment as to the type of people who are drawn to such jobs.

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