DoJ Official Waterboarded:

Acting assistant attorney general Dan Levin apparently asked to be waterboarded when evaluating its legality, according to ABC News.

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.

UPDATE: Marty Lederman has more thoughts on this story here.

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"Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime":

Judge Evan Wallach -- former JAG, renowned expert on the law of war, and designer of this web site on the subject -- provides a history lesson on the U.S. government's treatment of waterboarding in today's Washington Post:

The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it. . . .

We know that U.S. military tribunals and U.S. judges have examined certain types of water-based interrogation and found that they constituted torture. That's a lesson worth learning. The study of law is, after all, largely the study of history. The law of war is no different. This history should be of value to those who seek to understand what the law is -- as well as what it ought to be.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Confessions of a Waterboarder:
  2. "Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime":
  3. DoJ Official Waterboarded:
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Confessions of a Waterboarder:

A reader passes along this link to a discussion of waterboarding by Malcolm Nance at Small Wars Journal. Nance appears to have much more knowledge of waterboarding, and how it has been utilized in military training, than most who opine on the subject. It seems to me his perspective should be taken quite seriously. He writes:

As a former Master Instructor and Chief of Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, California I know the waterboard personally and intimately. SERE staff were required undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception. I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques used by the US army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What was not mentioned in most articles was that SERE was designed to show how an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique.

The carnival-like he-said, she-said of the legality of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques has become a form of doublespeak worthy of Catch-22. Having been subjected to them all, I know these techniques, if in fact they are actually being used, are not dangerous when applied in training for short periods. However, when performed with even moderate intensity over an extended time on an unsuspecting prisoner – it is torture, without doubt. Couple that with waterboarding and the entire medley not only “shock the conscience” as the statute forbids -it would terrify you. Most people can not stand to watch a high intensity kinetic interrogation. One has to overcome basic human decency to endure watching or causing the effects. The brutality would force you into a personal moral dilemma between humanity and hatred. It would leave you to question the meaning of what it is to be an American. [links omitted]

More here from Ed Morrissey.

UPDATE: Apparently Nance will soon testify at a Congressional hearing on U.S. interrogation techniques.

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