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John Ashcroft Confronted by Hostile Audience, Says He's Willing to be Waterboarded

Faiz Shakir: Ashcroft apparently believes that torture should be allowed as long as it doesn't kill him.
 
 
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This post, written by Faiz Shakir, originally appeared on Think Progress

Last night, former Attorney General John Ashcroft delivered an address on national security at the University of Colorado. The event was marked by heated protests. About 20 student protesters wearing "shirts with 'shame' written on the backs and wearing American flags over their faces, welcomed Ashcroft to the stage by standing up and turning their backs to him."

During the speech, Ashcroft caused an uproar when he declared Guantanamo Bay was a " good place" for detainees. In addition, he defended the torture tactic of waterboarding:

Ashcroft also responded to questions from the audience. The first question came from a woman who asked if Ashcroft would be willing to be subjected to waterboarding.

"The things that I can survive, if it were necessary to do them to me, I would do," he said.

Ashcroft apparently believes that torture should be allowed as long as it doesn't kill him.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and William Delahunt (D-MA) have introduced the "American Anti-Torture Act of 2007" to make clear no U.S. government agency feels it can apply the Ashcroft standard while interrogating detainees. They write:

Waterboarding is not "simulated drowning." It is drowning. It involves restraining a detainee -- usually by strapping him or her to a board -- with the head placed lower than the feet. The face or mouth is often covered or stuffed with rags and water is poured over the face to force inhalation. The victim's lungs fill with water until the procedure is stopped or the victim dies. Waterboarding has been considered torture -- even by our own government -- until recently. Indeed, we prosecuted Japanese officers for subjecting prisoners to waterboarding in World War II.

Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report.

 
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