Love or hate Christopher Hitchens, you have to give him the Walk the Walk award for this one. He went and had himself water boarded. It is worth reading the entire chilling account, but here are the seminal comments:
”You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board” is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered... I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if water boarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”
Leave it to the rare atheist hawk to be one of the few to put his drowning where his politics are and see for himself what the process is really like. Now perhaps that we know water boarding is torture, we can get to the discussion of whether we want the US to be a nation known for it, and dispense with the semantic games the administration insists on playing with this issue.