Thursday, 3 July 2008

Christopher Hitchens gets WATERBOARDED

Christopher Hitchens is a very outspoken anti-religion, pro-Iraq-war, defender of free speech for whom I have a certain respect (see below).

Late last year, the writer, polemicist and fierce proponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq Christopher Hitchens attempted, in a piece for the online magazine Slate, to draw a distinction between what he called techniques of "extreme interrogation" and "outright torture".

From this, his foes inferred that since it was Hitchens' belief that America did not stoop to the latter, the practice of waterboarding - known to be perpetrated by US forces against certain "high-value clients" in Iraq and elsewhere - must fall under the former heading.

Enraged by what they saw as an exercise in elegant but offensive sophistry, some of the writer's critics suggested that Hitchens give waterboarding (which may sound like some kind of fun aquatic pastime, but is probably best summarised as enforced partial drowning) a whirl, just to see what it was like. Did the experience feel like torture?

Then I go find the original piece (Note: no link from the Guardian)
From Slate (this quote is on page 2)
"At a time when Congress and the courts are conducting important hearings on the critical question of extreme interrogation, and at a time when accusations of outright torture are helping to besmirch and discredit the United States all around the world, a senior official of the CIA takes the unilateral decision to destroy the crucial evidence."
This was a different argument. However, when asked by Vanity Fair 'if he would be willing' to endure simulated torture, Hitch said yes.

It is torture.

Meanwhile, below the belt is why I really like Hitch.

Christopher Hitchens was invited to debate at the University of Toronto on the topic 'Be It Resolved: Freedom of Speech Includes the Freedom to Hate.'
November 2006."

Part 1

Part 2


Hitch, if ever I meet you I will demand you drink Tetley Bitter all night; but I'll cover your bar bill :)

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