George V. Reilly

Waterboarding

Waterboarding

Via Hullabaloo, a de­scrip­tion of wa­ter­board­ing from someone who tried it on himself:

It took me ten minutes to recover my senses once I tried this. I was shuddering in a corner, convinced I narrowly escaped killing myself.

Here’s what happened:

The water fills the hole in the saran wrap so that there is either water or vacuum in your mouth. The water pours into your sinuses and throat. You struggle to expel water pe­ri­od­i­cal­ly by building enough pressure in your lungs. With the saran wrap though each time I expelled water, I was able to draw in less air. Finally the lungs can no longer expel water and you begin to draw it up into your res­pi­ra­to­ry tract.

It seems that there is a point that is hardwired in us. When we draw water into our res­pi­ra­to­ry tract to this point we are no longer in control. All hell breaks loose. Instinct tells us we are dying.

I have never been more panicked in my whole life. Once your lungs are empty and collapsed and they start to draw fluid it is simply all over. You know you are dead and it’s too late. In­vol­un­tary and total panic.

There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It would be like telling you not to blink while I stuck a hot needle in your eye.

At the time my lungs emptied and I began to draw water, I would have sold my children to escape. There was no choice, or chance, and willpower was not involved.

I never felt anything like it, and this was self-inflicted with a watering can, where I was in total control and never in any danger.

And I understood.

Wa­ter­board­ing gets you to the point where you draw water up your res­pi­ra­to­ry tract triggering the drowning reflex. Once that happens, it’s all over. No question.

Some may go easy without a rag, some may need a rag, some may need saran wrap.

Once you are there it’s all over.

I didn’t allow anybody else to try it on me. In­con­ceiv­able. I know I only got the barest taste of what it’s about since I was in control, and not restrained and con­trol­ling the flow of water.

But there’s no chance. No chance at all.

So, is it torture?

I’ll put it this way. If I had the choice of being wa­ter­board­ed by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledge­ham­mer, I’d take the fingers, no question.

It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing it again. I’d give up anything, say anything, do anything.

The Spanish In­qui­si­tion knew this. It was one of their favorite methods.

It’s torture. No question. Terrible terrible torture. To experience it and understand it and then do it to another human being is to leave the realm of sanity and humanity forever. No question in my mind.

Wikipedia has a long article on wa­ter­board­ing.

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