Senator Wants to Waterboard Cheney

Dick Cheney still insists that waterboarding is not torture, even though we have prosecuted many people on torture grounds for waterboarding others. Sen. Angus King of Maine says that if Cheney doesn’t think it’s torture, he should submit to waterboarding and see for himself.

Sen. Angus King, who is on the intelligence committee, (I-ME) reacted to Cheney’s comments during a Sunday appearance on MSNBC.

“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim! This was torture by anybody’s definition,” he continued. “John McCain says it’s torture, and I think he’s in a better position to know this than Vice President Cheney. I was shocked to hear that statement that he just made.”

“And to say that it was carefully managed, and everybody knew what was going on, that’s absolutely nonsense.”

King concluded: “Sorry to be sort of wound up on this, but I couldn’t believe that quote from Vice President Cheney.”

It’s entirely believable. If he admits that it’s torture then he’s guilty of war crimes. And he doesn’t think he could possibly have done something wrong. So he plays pretend. But I agree, he should be waterboarded. Others who have done so have immediately admitted it was torture.

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  • D. C. Sessions

    Didn’t Hannity volunteer to be waterboarded to prove it’s not torture?

    How did that turn out?

  • colnago80

    Re D. C. Sessions @ #1

    He chickened out.

  • eric

    But I agree, he should be waterboarded. Others who have done so have immediately admitted it was torture.

    Don’t wait until afterward to ask the question. If you’re going to waterboard a pro-waterboarder, you should push them to say its torture while they are undergoing it; as part of the interrogation itself. That will make it patently clear to them and anyone watching that torture makes people say what the torturer wants, rather than getting them to reveal reliable information.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @3….and then push them to say it’s not torture after they’ve admitted it’s torture.

    You could probably get someone to say they’re a teapot in seconds.

  • colnago80

    As I recall, one of the war crime charges against Japanese officials who were prosecuted for war crimes after the end of WW2 was the application of waterboarding against POWs.

  • doublereed

    Angus King is badass.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Senator Wants to Waterboard Cheney

    So do I, I just haven’t publicly admitted it.

    And throw in Sean Hannity too.

  • jedibear

    Torture is unethical, no matter what a person may have done to deserve it, so I don’t think Cheney should be waterboarded, no. I think he should stop saying waterboarding isn’t torture, and I think he should be imprisoned for his war crimes, but torture is still torture.

  • corwyn

    My understanding is that Christopher Hitchens made the same claim, DID undergo it, to prove himself, and quickly and vehemently recanted.

    @8, no one is saying that he should be tortured because he *deserves* it, but rather as a chance for him to prove to us that he is right.

  • doublereed


    I don’t think people are suggesting they waterboard Cheney without his consent. It’s more like “Oh you don’t think it’s torture? Well then why don’t you try it and prove it? What are you afraid of?”

  • doublereed

    @9 corwyn

    Hitchens had a piece in Vanity Fair discussing his waterboarding experience titled “Believe Me, It’s Torture.”

  • naturalcynic

    Perhaps this should be run as an experiment. Null hypothesis: it’s not torture. Subjects: prominent characters who proposed or condoned the practice – Cheney, Yoo, Bybee, Hannity, Shrub, Bolton, … enough to get a good n. Procedure: waterboard up to 5 times. Endpoint per subject: admission that it’s torture or not. Subject’s incentive: admission that it’s torture and loss of current position OR if not torture, they get to keep current position.

  • Pieter B, FCD

    naturalcynic @ 12

    Subject’s incentive: admission that it’s torture and loss of current position OR if not torture, they get to keep current position.

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • colnago80 “He chickened out.”

    Lies! He bravened out!

  • freehand

    If it’s not torture, then what would be the point?


    As to the morally irrelevant point that it doesn’t produce useful information – the victims tell the torturer what they think he wants to hear, or more specifically, what they think will most likely end the pain. The victim does not say what the torturer should know. Like this:


    “Admit it! Torture tells us useful information!”

    “No, it really doesn’t. Studies have shown that – arrgh! Stop, stop! I admit it! Torture gets you the information you need!

    “There, was that so hard?”

  • Loqi


    When danger reared its ugly head

    He bravely turned his tail and fled…

  • Michael Heath

    I tend to cringe when people bring up our waterboarding detainees. We used many forms of torture and some of it was far worse than waterboarding. Particularly for those held in extreme cold, in stress positions, and deprived of sleep. Some those were also beaten as well, and some were beat to death – and then found innocent.

    I think we play in Cheney’s hands we allow his and his fellow torturers to falsely confine their torture to waterboarding. While waterboarding is clearly torture, it’s also the one method that much of the public falsely thinks isn’t really torture. So our response should be to insure we always list all the torture methods used.

  • He’s guilty of war crimes anyway: military aggression was a charge against some defendants at Nuremberg. Unless he turns up those Iraqi WMDs real soon…

  • The Japanese camp commanders were not “prosecuted” for waterboarding prisoners, they were subjected to “enhanced prosecution.” Namely they were hanged.

  • busterggi

    I wouldn’t want to waterboard Cheney. The electrical system that keeps him in a semblance of life might short out and zap me.

  • @9&10:

    I am opting out of your consensus opinion. Hearing that Dick Cheney suffered a horrible death would not give me the sads–if it was made to last a while longer than was actually necessary, bonus points. Yes, I am a complete prick where being on a higher moral rung requires that chickenshit chickenhawks escape responsibility for their heinous actions. Saddam Husseins death angered me, but not because he was killed or because of the manner in which it was done–he got off easy in my opinion.

    I don’t actually believe that death penalty forms of “justice” are a deterrent; I don’t believe that they will bring back the dead, or bring closure to the living. I do believe, and will continue to do so, that removing shitstains like Cheney from the social fabric can only make the world better. You certainly have my blessings to disagree with me–and to think that I’m a nasty person. I reserve my sympathy for those people with whom I can empathize–Cheney is not one of those people.


    True, Mr. Heath. Additionally we killed many thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan whose only “crime” was being between us and the (supposed) terrorists and jihadists.

    A relatively small number of people convinced millions of U.S.ians that we should proceed along a course of irresponsible, wasteful, dishonorable and, as it’s playing out, futile war waging. They can be identified and should be punished.

  • suttkus

    I recall seeing a bit on Fox News where they subjected one of their nitwits to “waterboarding”. That is, without asking any questions or restraints, they dunked him once, to let him get up and declare, “See, no problems, not torture”. Still the most disgusting thing I’ve seen on Fox News and that’s saying something.