One of the most repeated lines from conservatives in the debate over interrogations is that waterboarding is not torture because it is performed on U.S. troops as part of training. Yesterday on CNN’s Larry King Live, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura — a former Navy SEAL who has been waterboarded — poured cold water on this talking point, saying that waterboarding is in fact “drowning.” Ventura said he could waterboard Vice President Cheney and get him to admit to anything:
KING: You were a Navy SEAL.
VENTURA: That’s right. I was water boarded, so I know — at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion. It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence — every one of us was water boarded. It is torture.
KING: What was it like?
VENTURA: It’s drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I’ll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.
“Even though you know it’s not going to happen — even though before it, you know you’re not going to drown,” King stated. “You don’t know it. If it’s done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. If it’s it done wrong or — it’s torture, Larry. It’s torture,” Ventura responded.