Polemicist and controversial author Christopher Hitchens wrote an article for Slate.com that distinguished “extreme interrogation” from torture, arguing that waterboarding falls into the first category but not the second. His critics challenged him to undergo waterboarding first-hand and judge for himself — a challenge he gamely took up.
Hitchens describes the discoveries he made during his experience and concludes, “Believe Me, It’s Torture“, in an article appearing in the August 2008 Vanity Fair. Hitchens writes:
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…
You can view the videotape of Hitchens undergoing “enhanced interrogation techniques” and ask yourself how long might you have held out before you sneer that Hitchens lasted only a few pitiful seconds before giving the signal that brought the experiment to an end.
(Hat tip to Kottke.org.)