Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shameless, part II

By Capt. Fogg

Malcom Nance knows whether waterboarding is torture or not, even if Michael Mukasey doesn't know and if God's own president doesn't think you know. Nance is a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego. He's a counterterrorism consultant for the Government's Special Operations, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies and he's had it done to him. Even though he knew he wasn't going to be killed, those who undergo such treatment in some sordid basement in a third world hellhole don't know that and like most of us, they'll say anything to make it stop.

Nance was waterboarded and supervised the waterboarding of 300 other men, not to elicit information, but so that our men would know what might await them at the hands of some evil empire on a par with the United States of America.

In an op-ed piece in the New York
Daily News today, Nance tells us that no matter how you look at it, waterboarding is torture:

In the media, waterboarding is called "simulated drowning," but that's a misnomer. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word. Usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch.

I doubt Mukasey would be able even to watch such a proceeding without being overcome. I doubt that most people would, but the truth is, such evil really does lurk in the hearts of men and the most ordinary people will do the most heinous things given the opportunity and the immunity and there are countless histories to prove it.

But our prospective Attorney General is capable of being evasive and we're capable of looking the other way or telling ourselves that "these people," these "terrorists" deserve it, even when they're kids picked up on the street in random sweeps or for having a suspicious name or because some enemy denounced them. face it we're capable of almost anything.


One has to overcome basic human decency to endure causing the effects. The brutality would force you into a personal moral dilemma between humanity and hatred. It would leave you questioning the meaning of what it is to be an American,

says Nance, but moral dilemmas don't exist in our administration and are usually avoided by our citizens and beyond the degradation of all our claims of leadership, our pretended ideals, we have created by this sort of action, a worldwide culture of anti-American hate that will not go away in our lifetimes, if ever.

It's well that history will remember Bush as the man who murdered America, but it is not well for us. I think we have been tried and found wanting, our values reduced to meanness our democracy eaten away by the cancer of patriotism and we haven't the slightest ability or inclination to seek redemption.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

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