Christopher Hitchens is always deeply thoughtful even when he’s wrong (like agreeing with Bush on the Iraq war). I can’t find it online, but he’s been accused of regarding waterboarding as a sort of not-that-bad thing that Americans do.
He was challenged to try it for himself, and he recently agreed.
After experiencing it, he says that if waterboarding isn’t torture, nothing is.
The psychological part of torture doesn’t get acknowledged enough. When you’re tortured and released, I bet you’re still tortured by it for years afterwards. Maybe for your whole life.
Hitchens says that he wakes up trying to get air, and that when he exerts himself a little and feels out of breath, he experiences panic.
And that’s leaving out the damage done to the torturers. Imagine that you’re the guy making people scream and beg. How would you sleep at night, even knowing that sometimes maybe (but infrequently) you helped save some lives?