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The More You’re Waterboarded, the Less Like Torture It Is

According to Andy McCarthy, senior fellow at the National Review Institute, the idea of calling waterboarding torture is just silly. And the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was waterboarded 183 times just reinforces how ridiculous calling it “torture” really is.

As he said on a conference call with reporters organized by the Federalist Society this morning, “as reprehensible as people may find it [waterboarding], it’s not an infliction of severe pain.” What’s more, it’s “not of long term duration such that it would be considered infliction of severe mental pain under cases that interpret that,” either.

“As far as mental suffering is concerned, that involves at least the creation of a fear of imminent death,” said McCarthy. “While it’s a favorite talking point that people were waterboarded 180 times … it undercuts the fear that there was going to be imminent death. After the first or second time you get the point that there’s no death to be feared here.”

So the more a detainee is waterboarded, this astute legal reasoning goes, the more he gets the idea he’s going to survive, and the less like torture it really is.

But isn’t the idea to terrify the guy into talking? Otherwise, why do it?

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