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War cheerleading journo is waterboarded
Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday July 2, 2008

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Hitchens says drowning practice is 'torture'

Christopher Hitchens, the British journalist who is among the staunchest defenders of the war in Iraq, was waterboarded for a recent article in Vanity Fair.

"Believe Me, It's Torture" is the article's title.

In it and an accompanying video Hitchens outlines a trip to North Carolina where interrogators experienced in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training that Special Forces soldiers participate in to resist torture at the hands of enemies.

"I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: 'If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.' Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture," Hitchens wrote after enduring the procedure.

Hitchens is one of the staunchest defenders of the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq, arguing on the 5th anniversary of the invasion that he was right all along. After the photos of prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib became public he wrote that such conditions nonetheless made the prison an improvement from its pre-war state.

In his most recent piece, Hitchens does not touch on his arguments in support of the war, but he argues that waterboarding as a practice is not helpful in the pursuit and persecution of the war against al Qaeda.

"One used to be told—and surely with truth—that the lethal fanatics of al-Qaeda were schooled to lie, and instructed to claim that they had been tortured and maltreated whether they had been tortured and maltreated or not," he wrote. "Did we notice what a frontier we had crossed when we admitted and even proclaimed that their stories might in fact be true? I had only a very slight encounter on that frontier, but I still wish that my experience were the only way in which the words “waterboard” and “American” could be mentioned in the same (gasping and sobbing) breath."