They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Water-boarding Torture

IN 1957, the French journalist Henri Alleg was tortured by the French in Algeria. In The Question, the famous book that he wrote about his experiences, he described the following ordeal. He was laid out over a wooden plank, his head wrapped in a rag and positioned beneath a tap, which was then turned on.
"The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could. But I couldn't hold on for more than a few moments. I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me."
What Alleg is describing here is the practice known as "water-boarding", sometimes also called "simulated drowning". These euphemisms conceal a disgraceful reality, one powerfully exposed by Alleg's anguished testimony.
On any measure, "water-boarding" constitutes torture. One could be forgiven for thinking that such an odious practice could never be used by civilised societies. It's time to think again. Read more