Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Water-boarding on the NHS

According to former president GW Bush the torture act of water-boarding saves lives so don't be surprised if it doesn't show up on the NHS soon, no seriously all those obese people clogging up the system could be forced to confess how many chocolate hob-nob's they've really had and save everyone a lot of time. For those who aren't au fait with modern torture techniques take a look at this video of journalist Christopher Hitches being water-boarded for his art.

Compared with pulling out finger nails this looks fairly tame, although I'm not volunteering for anything I hasten to add, I can imagine its catastrophically unpleasant to feel as though you are drowning for hours on end.

Fans of this kind of thing (and there are many) seldom seem to take into account the overwhelmingly negative evidence that torture is a pretty poor way of gathering intelligence, highly unreliable seems to be the conclusion of most studies done, however if you are trying to prevent the slaughter of innocent people against the clock then anyone can see the attraction. In the end we should probably have a cold hard (scientific) look at whether this kind of thing creates more terrorists than it catches, I suspect the answer is not as simple as we would like.

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