Washington Babylon — July 21, 2008, 8:08 am

Waterboarding and the Waverly Inn

Leon Wieseltier on Hitchens and waterboarding:

Just some weeks ago Christopher Hitchens and his camera-ready conscience went and got themselves waterboarded for the pages of Vanity Fair, which are anyway torture enough.

There are many things that might be said about such a stunt — that moral understanding is not arrived at by means of the senses, or by personal acquaintance with evil; that ordinary intelligence and ordinary imagination are quite sufficient to establish the foulness and the folly of such procedures, which is why judges who have not dressed up in Guantánamo drag have been able to rule persuasively against them; that the victims of waterboarding do not commonly towel down and head for the Waverly Inn — but I have no intention of dignifying this high clowning with serious reflection. I hope only that Hitchens next tries rendition.

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I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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