While the Senate Judiciary Committee and U.S. Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey go around and around over the question of waterboarding and whether it constitutes torture, a man who has been there and done that has spoken out against the practice.
It's torture, says Malcolm Nance, a counter-terrorism and intelligence consultant for the special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies. Nance, writing for the Small Wars Journal website, called the debate over waterboarding "a crisis of honor."
And accepting it as a tool for interrogation, he says, does the United States no honor.
"As a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School in San Diego ... I know the waterboard personally and intimately," he wrote. "I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people."
SERE, he wrote, is designed to show how "an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique."
Nance is among the latest, but not the first, former American service member to rap waterboarding and other aggressive questioning methods, which the administration calls enhanced interrogation techniques.
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