Hitchens Agrees: Waterboarding Is Torture

Controversial writer puts his money where his mouth is, takes plunge for Vanity Fair
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 3:10 PM CDT
Protesters stage mock waterboarding.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – "You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it simulates the feeling of drowning," Christopher Hitchens writes of waterboarding in Vanity Fair. "You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning," concludes the author, who experienced the controversial interrogation technique himself. "I find I don't want to tell you how little time I lasted."

Even on a second run-through, under the tutelage of veterans who teach soldiers to resist the experience, Hitchens couldn't last longer than moments as he was "unable to determine whether I was breathing in or out," under layers of soaked cloth. He is forced to conclude: "If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture." (Read more Christopher Hitchens stories.)