If you've ever had an asthma attack or anything like it then you may have some hint of what water boarding is really like. We are so surrounded by air that we readily forget how frequently we require it. Christopher Hitchens in writing for Vanity Fair decided to see what it was like for himself.
This is the article from Vanity Fair which is well worth the read (only 2 pages) and below is some video of part of the experience he had. It is not disturbing to watch in itself but it comes more unsettling once you start to consider how you would feel in the same position.
The key point missed by folks who think this sort of thing is just plain dandy because of the war on terror is that the people it is used on are merely suspects who have not yet stood trail in most cases much less been convicted of anything. It is worth remembering that with all the time and resources available to them compared to the time pressures that the military operate under the justice system in the US has placed people on death row who have been exonerated later. And indeed executed some who were later found to be not guilty. So a goodly portion of those subjected to water boarding are most likely innocent of what they are suspected of.
The reason we have all the safe guards we do in our legal system is not to protect the guilty but to ensure that the innocent don't pay a price on behalf of others. I've long held the view, that when it comes to the death penalty, that those who seek to restore it should offer themselves as collateral in case of mistakes. When a single innocent person is executed then 12 of those who supported the restoration of the death penalty should be randomly selected and added to the line of those to be executed with no leave to appeal. After all, if you believe in the system so much why should you expect another innocent person to pay a price you wouldn't pay to ensure the system continues. So, let's do the same with water boarding. For every person who is subjected to this practice and not found guilty of anything then 12 supporters of the practice should be subjected to it too. I would include in that figure of 12 at least one lawmaker in congress and then work my way down into the state legislatures. After all if the price in civil liberties is supposedly worth paying shouldn't those deciding it must be paid also be the ones to pay at least some of it?