Presidential candidates compete over their embrace of torture

“Waterboarding is sometimes described as giving victims the sensation of drowning. Those who have been subjected to the technique say it’s no facsimile. Six years ago, the late Christopher Hitchens voluntarily subjected himself to waterboarding so that he might report what it’s like. “You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning”, hewrote, “or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure”. Mr Hitchens lasted only seconds before he ended the session: “Unable to determine whether I was breathing in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with mere water, I triggered the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and stifling layers pulled off me”, he wrote. “Believe me, it’s torture”.”

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