"We do not torture."
That's what President George W. Bush said, and we can believe him, right? After all, that whole water boarding thing is just a walk in the park. Here is how CIA sources described this technique to ABC News:
"The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt."
And it seems to work pretty well. Another passage from the ABC story:
"According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al-Qaida's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess."
Wow. Two-and-a-half minutes to get the truth. Not bad.
Perhaps the Justice Department could use this to speed up some investigations that are taking forever. How about that two-year investigation into who leaked Valerie Plame's CIA status?
Stick Karl Rove on the water board and we can see who really leaked what in just a couple of minutes. That would be fair, wouldn't it? After all, his boss says it's not torture, right?
And how about this whole question about whether we were lied into the war in Iraq. I bet Dick Cheney would have the answer for that one, though the water board may be tough on his bad heart. At least we would know for sure if 2,120+ brave Americans died for a lie.
Just for fun, we could strap Bill Clinton to the water board and find out a whole lot on what happened during his term in the White House. That's one interrogation people would pay big money to see on pay-per-view.
Think of all the situations this could be used for. Hook up Tom DeLay, see if he really did break Texas campaign laws. Get the Halliburton executives in there and ask what happened to all our money. Stick O.J. Simpson on the water board and find out if he killed his ex-wife.
Remember, it's not torture. Bush says so.
Of course, this method isn't foolproof. The confessions obtained this way aren't exactly trustworthy.
The ABC story recounts how one subject was water boarded into claiming Iraq helped train al-Qaida members to use biochemical weapons. This information then was used by the Bush Administration to justify the war. As it turns out, the subject had no knowledge of such training, and he fabricated the story in order to stop the treatment.
"This is the problem with using the water board. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," a source told ABC.
So maybe we weren't lied into war, just water boarded into it.
At least it's not torture. Bush said so. And we can believe him, right? Perhaps he can volunteer for the water board and prove he's telling the truth.
n Kirk Caraway is Internet Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1273.