Stupid Is As Hitchens Does

Columnist Christopher Hitchens decided to try out for a Darwin Award (or whatever the equivalent honor is when you survive an incredibly dumb act) by recruiting a team of special operations troops to waterboard him. He then wrote an article about what it felt like for Vanity Fair.

Hitch's verdict? "If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."

Honestly, I thought we learned in grade school to be a little smarter than this -- that it wasn't necessary to stick a metal fork in the electrical socket to know there was electricity there. Unfortunately, for some people personal experience trumps all other forms of learning, and they must learn at the school of hard knocks. Or, in this case, the school of hard torture.

What next? Will we wake up to read this headline in Vanity Fair?

Hitchens Loses Legs to Munition in Southern Iraq
Author was trying to understand arguments against cluster-bomb treaty

Kids, don't try this at home. And if you're looking for serious discourse on this issue, I recommend you read Mark Danner, Scott Horton, Jane Mayer, or Malcolm Nance (who Hitchens quotes in his article). These are people with the common sense to know better.

By Phillip Carter |  July 2, 2008; 3:30 PM ET  | Category:  Torture
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Have suggested to the Olbermann and what-not crowd for years that they challenge the rah-rah crowd to a waterboard contest. Each contestant would be tested until A) they admitted it was torture or B) 5 minutes worth.

It would be media blowout. And we'd either get them to admit it, or they'd be dead. Win-win.

Posted by: srv | July 2, 2008 5:50 PM

Hard to fault him for finding a way to sober him up enough to say something half-way intelligent though.

Posted by: Charles Gittings | July 2, 2008 7:25 PM

Phil-

I think you are missing the point. The object of Hitchens's stunt isn't waterboarding one way or the other, but rather explaining Hitchens's own behaviour . . . He has been after all "a true believer" all along, although the details of his "true believing" have changed over time.

Starting as a Trotskite way beyond any reason to believe in Trotsky, he graduated to cheap betrayal of his friend S. Blumenthal because he was soooo bitter about Bill Clinton getting away with that BJ in the White House . . . imagine the rage he felt, as well-greased Right-wing attack poodle with his miniature Che beret stapled on his little head at that ever so jaunty English angle. How popular he was among the powerful who gave him the occasional pat, or swift kick, depending on their/his mood.

So now he waxes lyrically about his torturers. . . but it wasn't always so, not too long ago he was cursing them . . .

"The superficially clever thing to say today is that Lynddie England represents all of us, or at any rate all her superiors, and that the liberation of Iraq is thereby discredited. One odd effect of this smug view is to find her and her scummy friends--the actual inflicters of pain and humiliation--somehow innocent, while those senior officers who arrested them and put them on trial are somehow guilty. There is something faintly masochistic and indecent about that conclusion."

http://slate.msn.com/id/2118306/

Smug is as smug says, which is another way of saying that he serves only power, wherever he sees it, and profits from it. . . in that way, if in no other, he is consistent, like all the others in his, "the oldest profession" . . .

Posted by: seydlitz89 | July 2, 2008 7:39 PM

If Hitchens is dumb for demonstrating that waterboarding is torture, what would you call the sociopaths, liars and fools who believe that it is not torture and/or approve of torture? I guess there is a term. It is called Republican.

Maybe John Conyers should have waterboarded John Yoo last week. Then Yoo would have had to admit that he believes that the President has the legal right to bury a man alive. Not all Republicans would support Bush's "right" to murder, most, but not all.

Posted by: ec1009 | July 3, 2008 1:15 AM

Although the stunt was a bit over the top, Hitch did it to gain attention and make a point--that waterboarding is torture. I can't think of a better publicity stunt for his article that what he did.

Posted by: Paul | July 3, 2008 2:36 AM

Hitchens did it because there are far too many people out there who still don't think it's torture. I doubt he did it because he really wasn't sure what it was like. Rather, for some people, it takes someone who is not a terrorism suspect who has actually experienced it for them to realize that "normal Americans" think it's torture too.

Posted by: freeDom | July 3, 2008 4:28 AM

Now he may turn his wordsmith skills onto to the "looney" right. It could get him banned from Fox!!!

Posted by: the munz | July 3, 2008 5:22 AM

Of course Hitchens was stupid.

The smart prodedure would be to try it on the Bush-Cheney ilk and get THEM to say if it's torture or not.

To which scientific experiment I eagerly look forward for a report on, always thirsty for sound new knowledge as I am.

Posted by: Yond Cassius | July 3, 2008 7:41 AM

If I had a dime for every "talking head" I have seen in front of the White House or the scene of the day in totally bad weather, just to prove they are there and that their network can not spend for a backdrop picture - I could be retired in great comfort. So it really is "anything for a story." But they do make a point. If someone wants to tell us how much it is not torture, please let them demonstrate it in prime time. Then we could make up our minds.

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 3, 2008 8:43 AM

As my dad said to me when I was growing up, and as I said to my sons as well, "What in God's name made you think this was a good idea?". I'm dumbfounded.

Posted by: LTC Cooper, Ret | July 3, 2008 9:09 AM

Remember, before this, Hitchens did a notorious column denying that waterboarding is torture. So did many others.

And the response was, almost universally, "If its not torture, try it!".

Hitchens was the only one with the guts to take the challenge, and, well, the results speak for themselves.

So I don't think it was a stupid stunt.

My thought has always been in the congressional debates on "is waterboarding torture", if you waterboarded one of the "No its not" crowd on the senate floor it would make it very clear that it is torture, pure an simple.

Posted by: Nicholas Weaver | July 3, 2008 10:51 AM

I wonder how Hitch would have held up under whiskey boarding?

Surprisingly well I would guess.

Posted by: Jerry Fahey | July 3, 2008 12:10 PM

You're right it was stupid. But because he did it and then 'wrote' about it. The general idea here is to let the American people know that it's torture. In order to make that point it should be on television and should be done to someone in a position of power who says it's an acceptable thing for the United States to be able to do.
My vote for who should have to demonstrate it--and I'm not being cynical, glib or snide, I'm totally serious--is that Joe Lieberman should be the one to demonstrate to the rest of us that this in not torture by undergoing it himself while being filmed by network television and should afterwards be interviewed to obtain his impression of the treatment.

Posted by: Thomas Fiore | July 3, 2008 12:38 PM

Vanity Fair has posted the video of the incident.

Posted by: Paul Wall | July 3, 2008 1:00 PM

Suggest we ask McCain, Cheney, Rumsfield,
and the rest of that crowd, Bush would not
realize what was happening, as prime test\
subjects for water, naked (ugh) and other
wonderful activities they have endorsed!

Posted by: jacques coffe | July 3, 2008 1:58 PM

What a weirdly venomous reaction. Whatever your opinion of Hitchens, it seems ludicrous to deny that he showed enormous integrity and courage in doing this.

Unlike Cheney et al, Hitchens put to the test his claim that waterboarding is not torture, and then admitted he had been wrong. When it comes to ending this barbaric practice, very little can rival the power of a conversion earned from personal experience.

Posted by: Dale McGowan | July 3, 2008 2:18 PM

Mr. Carter,
If you don't have the cubes to try it, I would suggest the best policy would be to just shut up. I think you just don't have the courage to try it yourself. Nothing more complicated than that.

Posted by: rbe1 | July 3, 2008 2:31 PM

And who is Phillip Carter? Another one of the STUPID, so called journalist at the Washington post. Stupid, I guess he is the author of yesterday's editorial re General Wesley Clark. I've been telling friend's to use the Washington Post for toilet paper--but even they respect their rear end.

Posted by: George | July 3, 2008 2:31 PM

Well said, Dale McGowan. I think many people find it hard to believe that waterboarding is all that bad. As a writer notorious for his unwavering support of the war, Hitchens is in an excellent position to demonstrate otherwise. I think he succeeded. Perhaps one could call him foolish for proving something that reasonable people already know, but I think we should welcome one more witness to the truth.

Posted by: TD | July 3, 2008 2:40 PM

Mr. Carter,

If you haven't noticed, millions of Americans believe waterboarding is just fine, as long as the victim is a swarthy evildoer. ANYTHING that can enlighten this population is worth doing.

I also object to your misuse of the term "Darwin Award", which is awarded to people who do incredibly stupid things that result in their own deaths. As Hitchens' torture was conducted by trained professionals (that they exist is a sad statement on this nation's loss of honor), the chance he would die was probably less than the chance you will die everytime you fire up your gas-guzzler and hit the roads.

Posted by: Ash | July 3, 2008 3:04 PM

The most important thing is that the demonstration gives those who have declared waterboarding 'acceptable' a piece of evidence to the contrary. I suspect a large percentage of waterboarding supporters didn't even know what it was.

But I also find it an act of courage by Hitchens, not stupidity. There are plenty of callous writers out there who blandly call for waterboarding, who never would try it out on themselves to get a real sense of what they are calling for.

How many times have I heard an opponent of the war criticize an old man who calls for war safe in the knowledge that he won't have to serve? It's fair criticism. Hitchens isn't that old man.

Posted by: Ed Godard | July 3, 2008 3:06 PM

Dear Mr. Carter,

Generally, I enjoy your posts, but this one is short on intel and long on dump.

Bottom line, we all too often shove the subject of U.S. torture aside. We need to talk about it. Hitchens got you to do it.

Posted by: PhilV1 | July 3, 2008 3:07 PM

"Honestly, I thought we learned in grade school to be a little smarter than this -- that it wasn't necessary to stick a metal fork in the electrical socket to know there was electricity there."

You seem to be making his point for him with this statement. Yes we all know there is electricity running through electrical sockets, but millions of American's (including Congressional and Executive leaders) still haven't figured out that waterboarding constitutes torture.

It seems more likely that the general disdain of the post and many responses is not aimed directly at the courageous article, but rather at the author himself (and seemingly his support for the Iraq war).

Posted by: Jacob | July 3, 2008 3:15 PM

Like many others here, I'm no fan of Mr. Hitchens. But in this instance, at least he demonstrated a bit of moral consistency by putting his body where his mouth was.

And I wholly agree with those who have suggested that Mssrs. Bush, Cheney, and Yoo try this little test themselves. But then I guess Cheney would speak for all of them by saying that, as was the case when he was facing the draft during the Vietnam war, they have "better things to do."

Posted by: Andy Moursund | July 3, 2008 3:22 PM

Hitchens' demonstration does not adequately represent the level of panic waterboarding instills in its subjects; at least he had a high level of trust that his "captors" would stop.

Phillip Carter is intentionally missing the point and the Washington Post (which I've been reading since the days of Nick Von Hoffmann) has wasted my time and that of my fellow readers with this ridiculous piece.

If I were a fish and this were the print edition, I'd be ashamed to be wrapped in it...

Posted by: Swampy | July 3, 2008 3:27 PM

You need to understand that Cheney and others in this sorry administration compare waterboarding to a "dunk in the tank", nothing more than getting one's head wet. Cheney has said it himself. All I see Hitchens doing is proving that it is not a dunk in the tank, but it is torture, as any thinking person knows. Sometimes someone has to show the brainless Fox watchers that what they are being fed is lies by Faux and this administration.

Posted by: Fate | July 3, 2008 3:29 PM

Phillip Carter aside, I have to once again lay blame for this low level of journalism at the feet of "The Washington Post". I continue to be amazed at the people "The Post" gives voice to. Shame on "The Post".

Posted by: John Cook | July 3, 2008 3:51 PM

As a columnist cum celebrity, getting boarded was PR genius.

Posted by: Duhwayne | July 3, 2008 3:55 PM

Hitchens probably expected to come out saying it wasn't torture, as he has long claimed. Now he knows. It was a perfectly reasnable experiment.

Posted by: Dick Phelan | July 3, 2008 3:56 PM

What kind of Scotch did they mix with the water?

Posted by: DFC102 | July 3, 2008 3:58 PM

Give him a break. Kudos to Hitchens for trying to earn some credibility to speak on the issue, unlike most of the bloggers the Post has on staff.

Posted by: William J. | July 3, 2008 3:58 PM

If it is so obvious it is torture then why does the Post let Bush get away with saying it isn't?

Posted by: rm-rf | July 3, 2008 4:10 PM

Having just watched the video I cannot believe that our country engages in this sort of thing. It's sick, and as Hitchens said, what if they've got the wrong man? Nor can I believe the Post would rip him for having the courage to put his money where his mouth is. Good for Hitchens. The mans got some balls.

Posted by: CB | July 3, 2008 4:10 PM

Most of the comments endorse Mr. Hitchens' experiment and the reasons behind it. I agree: How else could he have tested his notion that waterboarding does not constitute torture? In this case, Mr. Carter is the turkey.

Posted by: bobmul1 | July 3, 2008 4:22 PM

Thanks to this stunt, I will concede that Hitchens has reemerged in my mind as a slightly more credible character...If only he could have persuaded Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, and a few other Foxonians to have joined him.

Posted by: nat | July 3, 2008 4:53 PM

Oh, really? As a Singing Senator, I can bring to your attention the case of Daniel Levin.

Daniel Levin was a United States Assistant Attorney General in 2004 who was forced to resign over the issue of torture after Attorney General Fredo took office. He subjected himself to waterboarding. He was reportedly working on a more strongly worded memo specifically calling for its prohibition when he was forced out of the Justice Department.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arWJ358tZgU

Posted by: Singing Senator | July 3, 2008 4:54 PM

Maybe Hitchens can chop off his head, kind of like how Al-Qaida chops heads off in Iraq. Then we can all debate the pros and cons of beheadings.

Posted by: Jane | July 3, 2008 4:56 PM

You can't win a war without torture. Even in WWII, the allies used it. Left wing hippies need to grow up.

Posted by: Bob | July 3, 2008 4:57 PM

Good. Now we know waterboarding is unpleasant. Its meant to be. Can Hitchens now interview some of the Americans who actually have undergone real torture? There are plenty of them out there.

What Hitchens' stunt does illustrate quite clearly, is that Hitchens was obviously and beyond all doubts certain that he would survive the experience. He may be a candidate for the next Jackass segment - but his is not suicidal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 5:19 PM

Apparently he didn't die or lose his liver, so why is it torture?

Posted by: mmfleming1 | July 3, 2008 5:21 PM

Maybe sometimes it's just better to experience something to better know what the heck you're talking about and what it really means.

This reminds me of police training regarding less-than-lethal force and munitions. Police officers, as part of their training, are often subjected to tasers or pepper-spray. Part of the reason for this form of training is to educate the officer with first hand-experience of those forms of force. This, in turn, helps an officer judge when use of such force will be effective, the draw-backs of such force, etc. This form of training cannot practically be used with all forms of force, of course, but where it can be used, this kind of training is invaluable and widely practiced, not only by police forces, but by armed forces as well (across the globe, I would add).

Are police "stupid" for having this kind of training? Do you think an officer that has had such training might have a better understanding of what such force is about and its pros and cons? And if an officer has such knowledge, does that also not make him/her more qualified to discuss the matter?

Whether Hitchens was seeking publicity or not is immaterial. He now has something few people have... actual knowledge of what it is to be water-boarded (albeit in controlled setting). Clearly, Mr. Carter, you'll never respect that, but you should at least have the sense not to call him "stupid" for it.

Posted by: RFC | July 3, 2008 5:32 PM

There is an interesting propaganda campaign going on right now against Christopher Hitchens in both the NYT and the Post. The reason Mr. Hitchens' experiment was meaningful is that it is still the official position of the United States government that waterboarding is not torture. Now, if Mr. Hitchens stuck a fork into an electrical outlet, that would be sheer stupidity. By challenging the official description of waterboarding as just a dunk in the water (as Mr. Cheney would say), Mr. Hitchens is doing a service to both the United States and to humanity.

The Washington Post should show a bit more humility where this issue is concerned, especially since they persist in using the 1984-ish terms "simulated drowning" and "enhanced interrogation" to describe techniques which are recognized by the entire world -- or at least the part of the world which lies outside the United States -- as torture.

Our national policies of state-sanctioned torture and detention without cause are not only barbaric -- they are terrible mistakes which will haunt our country's attempts to bring democracy to the rest of the world, possibly for generations. Congratulations to Mr. Hitchens for doing what he can to try to expose the terrible damage we have done to our national identity -- and to our souls...

Posted by: Steve | July 3, 2008 5:38 PM

I rarely agree with Christopher Hitchens, who buys too easily into the militaristic fantasies of the neoconservative idiots. Nonetheless, I admire his grit in learning first-hand that waterboarding is not "simulated drowning." It is, in fact, actual drowning under controlled circumstances. I have always thought it should accurately be described as "controlled drowning," or, even more succinctly, as "torture."

Posted by: Ed Szewczyk | July 3, 2008 5:49 PM

actions speak louder than words.

this simple act is fearless in pursuit of truth.

you call a fearless painful pursuit of truth "stupid"? how disgusting a position for a journalist to take. How horribly twisted a mind you must have to chose this view.


you have let preoccupation with words trump your judgement regarding actions.

take a long active vacation and try to change. life as it is
maybe then you are misguided and lame.

Posted by: stupid | July 3, 2008 5:50 PM

Sounds as if Phil is jealous that not only is Hitchen's smarter, more clever and a better writer than the "Mark Danner's, Scott Horton's, Jane Mayer's, or Malcolm Nance's" of the world.. but he also has the stones that modern day political commentaries lack. Roll up your sleeves and come get a whiff of the real world, Phil. It's not all experienced behind a desk.

Posted by: Dennis M | July 3, 2008 5:59 PM

no, no - you don't see what Hitchens is up to. He's not auditioning for Jackass The Movie - he tries to imitate 'Oscar Wilde, the Contrarian Extraordinare'.

Hitchens is like that character Tom Irwin in 'The History Boys' advising students on how to get into Oxford or Cambridge -- the idea is to stand out from everyone else by always pretending to take a different and contrarian approach to whatever is being discussed, and then toss in a surprising quotation or two and some seemingly witty phrasing. It makes no difference whether Hitchens's position makes any sense, his only point is to make himself seem clever and interesting by always arguing opposite of whatever the others are saying. If you re-review what Hitchens says or does from this backward mirror perspective, you will see everything he says or does is utterly and completely predictable. Hitchens is the literary equivalent of a circus geek who supports his alcoholic life style by eating disgusting and surprising things to shock fee-paying onlookers; its just that in Hitchens's case, instead of his eating toads, glass and other surprising things, his trick is to spit them out.

hmm, now that we think about it, Hitchens tries to imitate character Tom Irwin and Oscar Wilde in other ways as well - though perhaps we dare not speak its name, eh?

Posted by: ithejury | July 3, 2008 6:00 PM

This commentary by Phillip Carter sets
a new WaPo record for lack of good taste.
Congratulations Phil!

Posted by: Ken | July 3, 2008 6:30 PM

Alan Dershowitz should be standing in line - someone move that guy to the head of the line - to testify to the opposite: that torture is not the big deal everyone is making it out to be. Ever hear Alan Dershowitz defending torture? Now he has to match Hitchens just so he can stagger to his feet saying, 'That wasn't so bad!'

Posted by: kathyw | July 3, 2008 6:34 PM

Isn't it amusing how we fall for the same old ad hominem attacks over and over and over again? If you can't challenge the substance, just attack the man. We've seen this show dozens of times, always with the same result. For example, the entire Plame-gate scandal started out as an ad hominem attack on Joe Wilson (with a dash of revenge thrown in), since the underlying facts (the veracity of the yellowcake fable) couldn't stand the light of day.

Now here we have another situation where the facts couldn't be more clear. Waterboarding is torture. Civilized nations, including the United States (yes, we once were a civilized nation), have recognized this for centuries, and we have prosecuted both our own soldiers (in Vietnam) and other countries' soldiers (in Japan after WWII) for this war crime. However, the mainstream media, aided by the likes of Philip Carter, just keep using the same old trick to distract us from this indisputable fact. And like simpletons dazzled by a cheap magician, we continue to fall for it.

Regardless of Mr. Hitchen's motives or previous statements, his action of allowing himself to be videotaped while being waterboarded has helped to focus attention, once more, on the barbaric question of whether waterboarding is torture. If you are an advocate for the most basic of human rights, this is a good thing. If you are an apologist for the unlawful actions of our current administration, of course you don't want to see anyone else pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes.

Shame on the Washington Post for allowing this cheap-shot to ever see the light of day. Thank you, however, for allowing your readers to respond...

Posted by: Steve | July 3, 2008 6:45 PM

Case in point -- did "ithejury" just attempt to discredit Mr. Hitchens based on the allegation that he is gay? Are we reliving the 1950's all over again? Is this the new standard of discourse in our once great nation?

Posted by: Steve | July 3, 2008 6:50 PM

While I'm not a fan of Hitchens anything that causes the Media to actually talk about this issue is ok by me. And who knows, maybe the media will now stop covering General Clark long enough to actually cover the important comments made by General Taguba when he accused this administration of war crimes for their systematic torture of prisoners.

Posted by: pmorlan | July 3, 2008 6:53 PM

You can't win a war without torture. Even in WWII, the allies used it. Left wing hippies need to grow up.

Posted by: Bob | July 3, 2008 4:57 PM

Oh really? Well these WWII interrogators who interrogated the Nazi's disagree with you Bob. Read and learn.

Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII
Interrogators Fought 'Battle of Wits'

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007; Page A01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/05/AR2007100502492.html

Posted by: pmorlan | July 3, 2008 6:57 PM

Now if only we can Cheney's bloated carcase on the drowning board.

He will of course have to wear his deferment ribbons and medals to help with the weight for drowning purposes.

Also a loud audio would be played saying he has lost all his gains in Halliburton stock...

Posted by: Joe | July 3, 2008 7:08 PM

I think more neoconservatives should be encouraged to go mano-a-mano with reality. Not discouraged. Their movement would most likely fade into obscurity overnight though which is the only real risk anyone faces here.

Posted by: Patrick | July 3, 2008 7:54 PM

There's a lot of Hate out there, you can almost smell the blood in the air. I love it-Bloated Carcases-espessly nice,I like the way your mind works.

Posted by: MarxBro | July 3, 2008 8:26 PM

It's a rare day (as in a planetary alignment day) when I have something good to say about Christopher Hitchins, but I thought what he did was both useful and at least mildly courageous. Say what you want about Hitchins, but he is a damned good writer, and his description of what it actually feels like to be waterboarded was a powerful antidote to the carefully sanitized way the Bush Administration -- and, by and large, the corporate media -- prefer to talk about the war crimes being committed in our name.

Posted by: Peter Principle | July 3, 2008 8:46 PM

I love how these Repub-types try to sound like "their so much hollier than thou" and discuss the merit and look at this like their intellutells and above the fray. Wait till we drag them down by their B#LLS into the fray-(Bloated Cascase- still cracks me up).

Posted by: MarxBro | July 3, 2008 9:24 PM

Maybe he thought it was the American English term for "water skiing". A simple mistake anyone could make.

Posted by: Richard | July 3, 2008 9:45 PM

A mental model of how it feels to experience a certain thing is often at odds with how it actually feels. A lot of detail is left out of the mental model -- things that one becomes acutely aware of during the actual experience. And so, it is beneficial to undergo a live fire exercise before entering into combat rather than to sit in a classroom for a lecture before a chalk board during which various descriptions are offered as to what you will experience and how you are expected to react. The armchair theoreticians who have given us the "tool" of waterboarding have done so with a slight acquaintance of what it entails. I believe they acted out of malice and for purposes of revenge rather than for the reasons that they have stated, which were that torture would extract The Truth, and information of timely and vital national security interest. It was their intent to demonstrate to the likes of Usama bin Laden that we don't cotten to his way of doing business and that we will not sit still for that sort of thing. It is more chilling to inflict unbearable pain and fear of Death than it is to outright terminate the life functions of the insect. Anyway, that's what they say down at the way upscale country club, seated in an overly large leather upholstered chair, drinking bourbon and branch water on the rocks.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | July 3, 2008 10:03 PM

How can anyone call Hitchens stupid when we have the most stupid person in the world in the White House? At the very least Hitchens' little test will allow him to speak with some authority on the subject of waterboarding as torture.

Posted by: Doubtom | July 3, 2008 10:07 PM

So your point is just that he's stupid? Explain *why* in a way that can be defended or refuted, but not say "It's dumb so read some of these folks." You know what that says? "Don't read me because I can't provide the substance behind my rhetoric."

Posted by: Anon | July 3, 2008 10:34 PM

I've never thought Hitchens to be the sharpest knife in the drawer and now he has confirmed it. Perhaps someone could convince McKasey to try this experiment or better yet, Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: Ted Owens | July 3, 2008 10:50 PM

He redeemed himself to some extent.

Posted by: James Tewes | July 3, 2008 11:29 PM

Hitchens had the balls to test our government's claim that water boarding isn't torture, and found otherwise. He knew that there would be careful limits on his treatment which is not true for the prisoners who get this treatment. Moreover, it does't work -- as our vets in Korea found you admit to say anything to stop it, so all it does is cheapen America. Thank you George and Dick.

Posted by: Gerry B. | July 4, 2008 1:51 AM

Hitchens: "Waterboarding is f***ing torture! Whoodathunkit? Cheney et alia are full of crap!"

WashPo Reporter: "Just shut up and write down that Waterboarding is not torture. It's foolish to resist. I have been assimilated."

I.F. Stone: "Follow the money."

GWBush: "Let freedom rain."

Posted by: theod | July 4, 2008 10:00 AM

I keep reading all these comments of people claiming that before this test, Hitchens supported this method.
I'm going to call BS on this, and ask for proof for these claims.
A link to any article, video, any source really.
Where hitchens says he firmly supports waterboarding should suffice.

Time to put up or shut up.
Having actually read his article (something that seems most people didn't do here before they posted their comment.)
I don't get the impression that he ever agreed with this method.

People that disagree with him on the war on Militant Islam puzzle me to no end too.

Posted by: Manuel Herrera | July 4, 2008 10:04 AM

Just to put this into perspective, how many people has the US waterboarded?

Posted by: Buck Smith | July 4, 2008 9:41 PM

== Hitchens did a notorious column denying
== that waterboarding is torture. So did
== many others.

And like several other Brits who
scribble in the US, he seems to
suffer nostalgia for Empire. And
that probably was a basis for his
rah rah attitude about invading
Iraq.

His next stunt should be to eat
dinner in a house located next to
another house targeted by a laser
guided 500 lb bomb.

Posted by: Marcaurelius | July 5, 2008 1:23 PM

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?

So using Hitchens' taste for booze / claiming that he's gay does not classify as an attack?

Echo Manuel's comments, though it would be nice if it was ONLY militant islam having war waged upon it.

Buck, why is that relevant? How many people have had their heads chopped off by al qaeda (to reference an argument used above)?

Posted by: JM | July 5, 2008 8:22 PM

P.s. Carter you're a Cu/\/t.

Posted by: JM | July 5, 2008 8:24 PM

JM: I think I agree with you but just in case; what's a cubic Vermont?

Posted by: Roger | July 7, 2008 7:34 AM

Look, people you obviously do not know much about Phillip Carter and while I have never met the man I have heard him speak on a number of occassions. I apparently know more of his background than most of you. I've heard Hitchens speak on a number of occassions as well and there is simply no comparing the two men in intelligence, integrity or otherwise. Mr. Carter would come out ahead hands down every time.
Phil, I personally would like to thank you for your service to our country and I look forward to continue reading your articles.
Keep up the good work.

Posted by: LF | July 8, 2008 9:53 PM

I think this article was a cheap publicity stunt by its author to gain attention through the use of a far more accomplished writer's name. After all, how many comments would this article have received had it not graced its headline with the name 'Hitchens'?

Posted by: DBritts | July 22, 2008 6:08 PM

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