Dick Cheney claims that “waterboarding” “stops short” of torture, but victims knew the reality. Torturers have been executed for submitting prisoners to simulated drowning, now tagged with that indistinct, even innocuous-sounding term.
Go no further than John McCain, who is unequivocal on the subject. He says waterboarding is not “enhanced interrogation” — it is torture.
In World War II, German and Japanese interrogators — and their commanders — were punished, imprisoned and executed for such crimes:
“The torture of the bathtub consisted in plunging the patient into a bath of icy water, his hands handcuffed behind the back, and keeping his head underwater until he was on the point of drowning. He was dragged to the surface by the hair and, if he still refused to speak, was immediately plunged underwater again.”Jacques Delarue, an anti-Nazi French intelligence officer during World War II.
The quote is from The Freedom Line, my book about the rescue of Allied pilots rescued by underground fighters in occupied Europe during World War Two. One key practitioner of simulated drowning at Gestapo headquarters in Paris was Jacques Desoubrie — aka Jean Masson. Desoubrie, a double agent who had infiltrated the underground, was captured by the United States after the war and executed in France.