From Olbermann

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This out from MSNBC …

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on tonight’s “Countdown” pledged to donate $10,000 to charity after disc jockey Erich “Mancow” Muller was waterboarded today on live radio, in an attempt to prove the technique was “not torture.” After six seconds Muller said it was “absolutely torture” and that were he to be interrogated by the use of waterboarding he would “confess to anything.” Olbermann promised to donate $10,000 to the charity Veterans of Valor, founded by Sgt. Klay South, who administered the waterboarding to Muller today, and withdrew his offer to Sean Hannity to make a donation to the charity of his choice if he followed through on his offer to undergo waterboarding.

If you haven’t seen the Mancow waterboarding, you can see the full video here. It’s powerful on a number of different levels.

The upshot is that the guy goes into it in cocky Hannity mode and then after maybe 5 or 6 seconds he struggles up and he’s converted, claiming it’s “absolutely torture”, that he never realized it was that bad, etc.

Now, here’s the thing. I’m genuinely surprised that he was was surprised that it was that bad. I’m not saying that for effect. Muller really seemed to think it was like getting dunked by your friend in a pool or something. Just factually, everyone who knows anything about this says that it’s horrific and you pretty much instantly feel like you’re drowning and at the edge of death. And it’s a physiological response. So even if you’ve gone through it ten times and know rationally that you don’t die, it doesn’t matter. You’re instantly put back into the mental space of drowning and being at the edge of death.

I must confess that when I see Hannity or the rest of these guys saying it’s no big deal and it’s not torture, I kind of figured they’re playing semantic games and essentially saying ‘I don’t care what we do to evil Muslim terrorist bad guys.’ Hang them from them toes, waterboard them, whatever, who cares? I don’t agree with that. It’s hideous. But I understand it. But here it turns out they’re just completely ignorant, just haven’t been paying attention. Just in the purest factual sense have no idea what they’re talking about.

I know, I know … why am I surprised?

(ed.note: When does Hannity get waterboarded? That may be waterboarding I can believe in.)

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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