Friday, May 29, 2009

Mancow's Waterboarding a Hoax?

Folks are suggesting that Erich "Mancow" Muller's waterboarding trial last week was a stunt. And it may well have been. Michelle Malkin's even got a post suggesting "lefty blogs got punked."

I watched the original video, and there was nothing fake about "Mancow" having water poured over his face. Did he jump up overly-excited to call it torture? Perhaps. But check out this episode of Keith Olbermann from Tuesday night. "Mancow" talks calmly about how genuine his fear was:

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The folks at Gawker think they were taken for a ride. They provide the video to Christopher Hitchens' waterboarding from 2007:

Readers can compare for themselves. Punked or not punked? Hitchens' handlers are way more professional at waterboarding. But perhaps "Mancow" just wants to shed his newfound "pussy" reputation?

Mancow" has a post up at Big Hollywood, in any case, via Memeorandum.


rbosque said...

He should try the torture Muslims do on Westerners. That would be a hoot.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

This is bs.

What Hitchens underwent seems closer to SERE method.

What the Japanese put POWs through was absolutely different and does amount to water torture and drowning.

From the released memos:

“This effort plus the cloth produces the perception of ‘suffocation and incipient panic,’ i.e., the perception of drowning. The individual does not breathe any water into his lungs. During those 20 to 40 seconds, water is continuously applied from a height of 12 to 24 inches. ... The sensation of drowning is immediately relieved by the removal of the cloth. The procedure may then be repeated.”

“Although the subject may experience the fear or panic associated with the feeling of drowning, the waterboard does not inflict physical pain. ... Although the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result to violate the statutory prohibition infliction of severe mental pain or suffering. ... Indeed, you have advised us that the relief is almost immediate when the cloth is removed from the nose and mouth. In the absence of prolonged mental harm, no severe mental pain or suffering would have been inflicted, and the use of these procedures would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute.”

Waterboarding should only be used simultaneously with two other methods: dietary manipulation and sleep deprivation.
Was dietary manipulation and sleep deprivation used in conjunction with waterboarding in Mancow's little test? Doesn't look like it. Isolating the act itself (and doing so inaccurately) without the context of a proper interrogation procedure, proves nothing. Of course a lot of people will call "fear and panic" induction "torture". It's not comfortable. Duh! It's not meant to be.

Many al Qaeda operatives have had extensive training in counter-interrogation and resistance. Furthermore, we've telegraphed to them just how far we're willing to go (which is to say, "not very"). And given that waterboarding hasn't been used for years and ended even in the absence of Obama's meaningless EO and proclamation that he's banning torture, the enemy knows that even if we still were using waterboarding, that it's only simulated drowning. The real power of its effect was in the "not knowing" that drowning really was happening. Now they know.