Last night on Fox News, Brit Hume argued that waterboarding – an interrogation technique dating back to the Inquisition in which the prisoner “has water poured over him to make him think he is about to drown” – does not constitute torture:
Torture has an actual definition, and it means extreme physical pain, it also means the kind of thing associated with the failure of your organs. Now waterboarding is hair-raising and frightening, terrifying as it obviously is, would not appear to fit that category.
The Justice Department has explicitly rejected Hume’s “definition” of torture. In a 2002 memo, then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales argued that to be defined as torture, punishments “must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel later revised this definition, but Hume apparently never got the memo.
Also, former torture victim Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) disagrees:
For instance, there has been considerable press attention to a tactic called “waterboarding” “¦ In my view, to make someone believe that you are killing him by drowning is no different than holding a pistol to his head and firing a blank. I believe that it is torture, very exquisite torture.
To send a signal to Hume and right-wingers that this kind of “exquisite torture” should stop, take action.