Thursday, March 24, 2011

Actor Was Waterboarded for 10 Hours

British actor Trevor Williams, who played a private security contractor in the 2010 movie "Route Irish," recently revealed that he endured 10 hours of real waterboarding during the filming. The experience left him with "weeks of panic attacks." Why would he do such a thing?
to ensure the scenes looked right, he had decided to undergo the controversial torture technique for real on camera. ... to protect him, the film crew had worked out a safe way of waterboarding, but it soon became clear it was not working. ..."So I made the decision, along with Mark and one of the crew, to just do it. ..."I trusted them enough to come up with a scenario where Mark would do it and if I raised my thumbs, the crew would run over and release me."
So let's review. A British actor voluntarily submits himself to 10 hours of waterboarding. He endures a fully authentic version purely in the service of artistic integrity. But U.S. use of this same technique to interrogate a captured terrorist leader and enemy of America such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a horrible war crime that can't be justified. Is it any wonder that I laugh at people who hold that view?

One other point... Although I'm on record stating that I consider waterboarding to be a mild form of torture (as torture goes), I also understand why many supporters of the technique claim that it is just a harsh form of interrogation and not real torture. The case of Trevor Williams serves as a prime example of why those people have a reasonable argument. Would Williams have decided to have electrodes attached to his testicles and undergone ten hours of electrical shocks? Would he have let the film crew strap him to a rack and had them crank it in the service of realism? Somehow I doubt it.

[My response to the waterboarding isn't real torture argument is that certain "things", such as torture, can have degrees. The fact that a "thing" is of a lesser degree does not necessarily render it something other than a "thing."]

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