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But it doesn't leave a mark

April 24, 2009 - Jim Anderson

“... If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

So wrote Christopher Hitchens, who underwent the “treatment” for a magazine (Vanity Fair) piece last summer.

And now comes Fox’s Sean Hannity, who (jokingly?) agreed to be waterboarded during a recent exchange with actor Charles Grodin:

GRODIN: You’re for torture.

HANNITY: I am for enhanced interrogation.

GRODIN: You don’t believe it's torture. Have you ever been waterboarded?

HANNITY: No, but Ollie North has.

GRODIN: Would you consent to be waterboarded? We can waterboard you?


GRODIN: Are you busy on Sunday?

HANNITY: I’ll do it for charity. I’ll let you do it. I’ll do it for the troops’ families.

I suspect the Lions have better odds of reaching the 2010 Super Bowl than of Hannity following through.

Grandstanding from these talking heads aside, there are two fairly clear sides to waterboarding.

Supporters say it’s not torture, but it might produce results. In extreme cases, why not try it?

Opponents say it’s torture and, besides, the results can’t be trusted. So why administer it?

Because it might work, defenders say. That’s far from settled, but let’s say that occasionally it does produce results. It might work, but it’s not torture?

Hannity, perhaps, regards waterboarding as a “baby bear” torture. You remember the Goldilocks tale. Papa bear, too this; mama bear, too that; baby bear, just right.

He’s free to test the theory.

But he might talk to Hitchens first.


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