A Fox News reporter undergoes a waterboarding:
It's important to remember that psychologically, he's in a very different space than prisoners who have no autonomy, and who are not aware that they can stop this at any time. Even so, his conclusion is inescapable:
"As far as torture goes, at least in this controlled experiment, to me this seemed like a pretty efficient mechanism."
It is indeed a pretty efficient torture technique that triggers involuntary extreme panic and fear in order to get information - any information - in order to have it stopped. The legal definition of torture is the infliction of "severe mental or physical pain or suffering" to extract information. The reporter essentially cops to "severe mental suffering" at the very least. I am grateful to Fox for not mincing words. This is torture. That a prisoner can survive it with minimal outward signs of physical harm is one of its benefits for torturers, because they can repeat it endlessly until a human being is still alive but reduced to an empty shell. And that is why the Khmer Rouge used it. And the Soviets. And the Nazis. And George W. Bush.
This is also on the ballot next Tuesday. Do you believe America should torture its military detainees and terror suspects? Do you believe the president - and the president alone - should be able to arrest anyone at will, name him or her an "enemy combatant," deny him or her habeas corpus rights, and torture him or her? If you believe he should have that right, vote Republican.
Your vote tomorrow is about more than politics. It is indeed about values, American values. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for torture.