Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Mancow Advances the Torture Discussion

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mancow Advances the Torture Discussion

No, really, he does. And in a positive way. Hard to believe, I know.

OK, he didn't plan it to go the way that it did. The whole thing started as a publicity stunt in which Mancow would undergo waterboarding on the air during his radio show so that he could prove that it's no big deal for a real man. He expected to "laugh it off." But then he actually went through with it.

Without training, regular people can stand only a few seconds of the process. A marine on hand at the studio said that 14 seconds is the norm. Mancow withstood about six seconds before pulling away. In friendly, casual, two-consenting adults waterboarding, of course, pulling away is allowed, but prisoners aren't generally afforded that luxury. Speaking afterward, Mancow was clearly shaken. He said that he although he didn't want to admit it, he now accepts that waterboarding is torture. (There's video of the experience at the site of WMAQ, Chicago's NBC affiliate.)

Steve Benen made the obvious point. Addressing those who refuse to acknowledge waterboarding as torture, he said:

This is not only absurd, it defies common sense: if this wasn't torture, we wouldn't have done it. The whole point is to do something so horrific that the detainee would feel compelled to give up information. If it were merely a "splash in the face," as some on the right have argued, why would Bush administration officials think it might be effective?

Mancow is not likely to change any minds, though. Christopher Hitchins conducted a similar experiment almost a year ago, and as I mentioned at the time, those who claim to believe that waterboarding is not torture do so for ideological reasons, certainly not for any reason based on its merit. Already, the gang over at Hot Air (I'm not linking--go find it yourself, if you must) have started their ridicule of Mancow's virility. What a way to debate a nation's morality.


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