Sunday, June 07, 2009

Some doubts about Mancow's waterboarding

A couple of weeks ago I made mention of radio jock Eric "Mancow" Muller subjecting himself to waterboarding to prove it's not torture, only to conclude that it is torture.

Gawker has raised some doubts (also see here) about the incident based upon: e-mails sent by Mancow's publicist before the event stating that it would be a hoax and that Mancow would pretend to be drowning; that the person who did the waterboarding had no special knowledge of the procedure and just looked it up on-line beforehand, that it was not the type of formal waterboarding experienced by Christopher Hitchens.

I do believe this gives reason to question Mancow's experience/integrity (especially considering his history of radio stunts), but I do not find it as damning or alarming as Gawker does. First, that this was not formal waterboarding was obvious from the start. That it was intended to be a radio stunt is also not a revelation. Secondly, Mancow expecting to fake his experience of drowning is also consistent with his stated intention to disprove that waterboarding is torture, to mock it as no big deal. While it could be the case that he faked his break-down after six seconds of having water-poured down his throat, I consider it more likely that he actually did experience that as torture regardless of whatever his intent was beforehand. That being said, skepticism is warranted.

Waterboarding remains torture regardless of the validity of Mancow's experience, however.

No comments: