Washington – Shortly before the House recessed yesterday, Republican Congressman Ander Crenshaw of Florida suggested that Congress might better understand whether the much-debated practice of waterboarding was torture, if the Congress was treated to a demonstration of a simulated drowning, using House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the fill-in for a detainee.
Waterboarding is a controversial interrogation technique in which a prisoner is made to think he is drowning, with water being repeatedly poured over his or her face while he or she is bound and lying on their back. Thus, it is often referred to as “simulated drowning.” CIA Director Michael V. Hayden confirmed the United States used the practice of waterboarding against at least three detainees in its custody, which only added to an already heated debate about whether or not the practice constitutes torture, and should be banned.
“I can’t think of a better way to get a visual representation of this practice than to have it demonstrated on the Speaker, in front of the full Congress,” Crenshaw said, speaking on the House floor. “We will know better what it is we’re debating about, and can judge more correctly whether or not it should be considered torture. And I volunteer to pour the water myself.”
President Bush, told of Crenshaw’s idea, was pleased. “I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Bush said, speaking at the White House before leaving on a trip to Africa, where he is to pretend to care about black people. “Speaker Pelosi has a lot of opinions, as do many of the Democrats in the House, that this practice is torture and should be outlawed. Well, if you think that, then I think it should be up to you to prove it. If it’s torture, Speaker Pelosi will tell us, because she’ll have experienced it firsthand. Unless she actually drowns, which, you know, would change things. But I don’t think that’s going to happen, you see. Because it’s simulated drowning. It’s not real drowning. It’s simulated. It’s like when you have a…a simulated fire drill. In school. There’s no real fire. It’s just a drill. Well, this is the same, except the person feels like they’re about to die. And they don’t get to go back into the school building when the bell rings, because they’re confessing everything they know to CIA agents. But it’s similar.”
Pelosi, for her part, seemed opposed to the idea. “Uh…no, I can’t say I think it’s a good idea,” Pelosi said. “I mean, can’t we get someone else to be the detainee? What’s Harriet Miers doing, for God’s sake?”