Eric “Mancow” Muller is a fairly popular conservative/libertarian morning talk show host, and he didn’t think waterboarding was torture.

It took 6 seconds for him to change his mind:

Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop. He only lasted 6 or 7 seconds.

“It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that’s no joke,”Mancow said, likening it to a time when he nearly drowned as a child. “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…It was instantaneous…and I don’t want to say this: absolutely torture.”

“I wanted to prove it wasn’t torture,” Mancow said. “They cut off our heads, we put water on their face…I got voted to do this but I really thought ‘I’m going to laugh this off.’ “

This is another thing I don’t get about arguments from the right…cutting off somebody’s head is MURDER. Torture is meant to make somebody suffer physical or emotional trauma. True, it could eventually lead to murder, but it’s not the same as killing somebody.

Next up, Sean Hannity? Actually, even though he said he’d do it, I doubt he will. Because he has to know by now that he wouldn’t last very long and would literally have to lie about how he felt. Nobody can beat this technique, and especially not rich, right wing talk show hosts.

By the way, if you want to watch the video of this, go here.

  • Aaron

    I generally have little respect for morning talk show hosts. I will give this guy points for being honest about his experience, and learning from it.

  • the Word

    Perhaps all Republicans could take one for the team and be waterboarded. That might show the rest of us that this is not torture… or maybe not. Sean is too much of a wimp though. For him it will never happen.

  • Casey

    Mancow is a wimp. Just because a weak civilian can’t hack it doesn’t mean it’s torture. This was a monthly ritual for us in the service. It’s uncomfortable, yes, but not remotely even close to real torture.

  • Keith

    Mancow is a “minimalist” conservative. Minimalist conservatives think in the shortest and most direct path on every issue without giving any consideration to periphery or consequential issues and results. Most “tough guy” conservatives fall into this group. They aren’t stupid or dishonest about their views, just too intellectually lazy to admit to anything existing beyond the most black & white version of reality.

    Perhaps seeing one of their own taken to the mat will enlighten others of his genre. It gets tiresome hearing the issues of an advanced nuclear country of three hundred million people discussed as if we were stuck in the eighteenth century.

  • Rey

    Also, consider that a prisoner being subjected to the same treatment doesn’t have a safe word or a toy cow to throw when they’ve had enough. The psychological aspect of the treatment is just as significant as the physical. It IS drowning, plain and simple. Torture is not designed to elicit true information, but false confessions, which is exactly what we got.

  • I will say one thing, if Sean Hannity ever did agree to be waterboarded, they should strongly consider pay-per-view. I’d pay $19.95 to see that.

  • I’m curious: does anyone know of a case where a person with first-hand experience of waterboarding denied it was torture?

  • Stuart

    John McCain claimed it wasn’t. Like I believe him though.

  • Ffderrick

    I was waterboarded for training. It’s not the same when you don’t have a safe word. Waterboarding is not torture if it stops when you throw in the towel. We were governed by fascists for the last eight years and we are still governed by fascists. Look at how Maddow is being savaged for actually reporting the truth about President Obama.

  • D

    Regardless of how it felt like torture… there is a definition. Bush sought legal council and the CIA even told people it was happening. Hence Pelosi screwing up. Yes. Its not a pleasant experience. And yet, physical damage ? Nowhere near a scimitar at your throat, and thats who we are dealing with. Our enemies are willing to strap bombs onto themselves and kill innocents and children. Asking them for information isnt as likely to work. Yes, waterboarding is no fun… neither is watching two planes fly into the towers…
    Did you really expect a lame shock jock to endure this and say…” hey, its not so bad ?” Would there even be a “torture” debate even happening if he hopped up afterward and laughed and asked for a towel ? You want real torture ? Listen to Mancow’s show. Now, go ask McCain why he cant lift his arms above his head…

  • michael childers

    Sure waterboarding is unpleasant.That is the point! Do you liberals really believe that a few seconds of severe discomfort by an enemy combatant is equal to the real torture of beheading by a dull blade or is this just the latest way to BLAME AMERICA FIRST ? It is a left wing myth that enhanced interrogation methods dont work, just ask KLM et al. War is not pretty and the candy-assed left NEVER has the backbone for it.

  • Ali

    The strange thing is that during the WWII, U.S.A trialed and handed death sentence to 8 Japanese soldiers who were accused of waterboarding American soldiers!

  • gerryf

    I was listening to Tom Hartmann on the radio and a caller, a former military member, argued it wasn’t torture because of the setting, duration, and medical personel standing by.

    According to him, during training when they are waterboarded, there are medical people standing by, you know it is going to end, you as the torturee can call it off at any time–so it is not torture.

    He said that the detainees at Gitmo are under the same circumstances as the miliatary trainees, so they are not tortured either. Hartmann tried to point out to the guy that the Gitmo detainees don’t have the power to end the waterboarding, but the guy ignored that point and tried to insist it still wasn’t torture.


  • Chris

    It’s still torture, even if you know it’s going to end. The people in gitmo and other prisons know that it could possibly happen over and over again for the rest of their lives, that’s torture.

    I’d totally pay to watch any or all of faux news anchors to be waterboarded. Especially that blubbering idiot oreilly.

  • Derek

    I still would rather waterboard somebody with plans to blow up Americans and get the information as opposed to politely asking. Get real, people. If you knew how many grave and very real threats there are to America, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

    The world is much more serious and dangerous than you think.
    Waterboarding, no matter what it is called, is an unfortunate necessity.

    I laugh when I read some of these posts, written by people who have never been in real danger and expects their government to protect them by asking TERRORISTS to tell them, pretty pretty please.

    What a joke.

  • Waterboard Rachel Maddow and Laura Ingraham and I will pay to watch it ! Put Keith Olbermann in there too and Rush Limbaugh !

  • the Word

    Neither Maddow nor Olbermann are hypocrites on the issue however.

  • ExiledIndependent

    What was he expecting it to feel like? Getting splashed in the face like a ride at Wet n’ Wild? The whole point of the technique is to make someone feel like they’re drowning, but not do any lasting damage.

  • the Word

    Let me water board you 186 times and let me know if you have any lasting psychological damage.

    And it isn’t a technigue, it’s torture and it was meant to be torture. They are just too cowardly and dishonest to call it that. At least Mancow was man enough to have it done and admit that he had formerly been supporting it out of ignorance.

  • Aaron

    I think what Exiled meant was that there’s designed to be no lasting physical damage from waterboarding. I say designed, because I’m sure the risk of physical harm is quite real. Also technique is the correct term. Its a torture technique.

  • Sit them down at a senate hearing and force them to answer questions from Senators. That is torture of a kind. Maddow and Olbermann come across as know it alls .

  • the Word

    Yes. we’d hate for commentators to actually know something.

  • Keith

    Let’s stick with torture. Can Madcow now try some stress positions while on air? How bad can those simple exercises be? Or maybe some sleep deprivation by making him listen to his own show for 72 hours straight played blaringly loud — including commercials? C’mon Madcow! You can do it! Yes you can! (P.S. yes, I know it is Mancow for those of you who take everything literally).

  • At least when President Obama requires harsh interrogation of terror suspects, it is out of sight, out of mind.

    Thank goodness Obama is outsourcing torture so that pundits don’t have to waste time with these ridiculous stunts anymore.

  • the Word

    I’m against it anywhere, I guess I am a fundamentalist.

    Seems rather odd if it is effective that is is the non high-value targets though doesn’t it?

  • elliott

    I’d like to see torturing morning radio dj’s more often. Mancow couldn’t be more off a tool and I’m glad he’s no longer in Chicago.

  • bigbob

    God, Democrats suck…

  • JeffersonFawkes

    Please don’t call libertarinism right wing. Yes we do like the free market, but we also hate war, torture, and infringing on any decision that doesn’t hurt others including the drug war gay marriage and other staples of the Republican party. Most libertarians can’t stand the mainstream republicans either.

  • Keith

    Jimmy the Dhummi: And what do you have to back up your inane claim?

  • Sgt. Bud

    I am sick of all this bleeding heart stuff…Waterboarding…Please! What about jumping from an exploding building on 911 you guys need to wake up….

  • Jackie

    “Weak civilian”? This is exactly why people in the armed services have horrible reputations. Some of the bravest people I know are not in the armed forces, and some of the weakest people I know are! (I’m a psychologist – just saw a staff sergeant drop to his knees and cry like a baby because he got caught being a pedophile.) Listen to people who have been tortured; it doesn’t work anyway…

  • Keith:

    When the writing is blue, you can click on it for what is called a “link” and you can go to another website and read stuff.

  • t strong

    Who cares if these guys get “emotionally effected” by being water boarded? There close minded brainwashed hate machines.

    You complain about their civil rights, but what about the rights of the soldiers or Citizens of any country who would have been killed if we didn’t get any information from these guys to prevent their attacks? We’re not doing this because we want to be the ‘mean old government’, We’re trying to save lives.

    Also, These people are not U.S. Citizens, they’re enemies. They do not and should not have the protection of the constitution, since they hate everything about it.

  • TerenceC

    Sgt Bilko

    Water boarding is torture. Waterboarding issue isn’t about the victims in this case. It’s about us as a society. Do we obey our own laws? Do we obey international treaties that we have signed? Do we have any basis to dispute human rights violations in other countries, when we ourselves did the same thing? Torture is a crime – and the USA tortured people plain and simple. There are no degrees of correctness where torture is concerned – it is an issue incapable of equivocation.

  • How do you feel Terrence, knowing that the CIA agent is now on the other side of the two-way mirror in the Pakistani prison during the interrogation, and the Obama administration is determined to keep the details of the foreign interrogations secret, or at least out of jurisdiction so as to deny responsibility? The New York Times reports that this may actually be increasing under the Obama administration.

    Are you concerned if terror suspects are tortured in order to save American lives generally, or only when Americans themselves are participating in the interrogations? Or maybe you are confident that Middle eastern countries and Pakistan treat their high-level terrorist detainies who have actionable intelligence as gently as you would prefer?

    The Times again reports that foreign interrogations of Al-qaeda suspects rendered to Pakistan led to the arrests of more high level Al-qaeda operatives. Do you think they asked politely? Or do you care?

  • Tully

    Nothing like some thoughts from someone who has REALLY been there to shed some light.

    Not that those whose opinions are driven by forces other than sober consideration will pay any attention.

  • gerryf

    So, Col. Thorsness is sitting in a room with two other former POWs. One says it is torture, the other two don’t but you decide it’s not torture because…it doesn’t agree with you? Majority rules? Thorsness speculates on a “window of truth” so it must be so, even though hundreds of other experts say torture reveals nothing.

    You talk about sober consideration, but you ignore the preponderance of evidence because it doesn’t agree with you. Yeah, OK. You’re right because you found a small group of experts who agree with you.

  • TehCrim

    If waterboarding is torture, why is it that a talk show host can just walk in and ask to have it done to him? US Servicemen are waterboarded as well during training. Are we torturing our own men? In fact, last I heard, aside from the hundreds of our own people we’ve waterboarded in training situations, we’ve used this horrifying torture technique against a grand total of three enemy combatants.

    I’m sure you like feeling like you’re doing something to save the poor, downtrodden masses that we’re holding our tyrannical fists over, but until the reports are revealed that show waterboarding gave bad results, I’m 100% happy to see people getting water poured on them. Either someone goes uncomfortable for a while and people live, or they don’t, and people die.

    They publicized the methods and questions that were asked to those boys, how about giving us the answers and results that were rendered?

  • TehCrim

    Add to that, why is it that waterboarding is so terrible to use against terrorists caught on the field of battle, but it’s just fine to scream that people from FOX should be waterboarded?

    I’d call that a double standard.

  • 9-11

    What kind of moron thinks he’s going to “laugh off” a known technique used to get interrogate terrorists? We should treat terrorists with a similar “probable cause” system to our own. If we have enough reason to believe they have the info, I’m all for water boarding to get the info that will prevent the deaths of American citizens. Disagree? You jump out of the the 60th story of a burning building in manhattan… or stay and burn to death, and I’ll take the waterboard… yeah, that’s what I thought.

  • Tom

    “It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back…”

    Sounds like the feeling I get with my neti pot, since that’s exactly what I’m doing with it.

  • PlatonicMoose

    Ok, so most conservatives now falls back to the “24” excuse, that is, when there is a need, it doesn’t matter if we torture people. Yes, we all remember 9/11, guys, yeah, it was horrific. But where’s the conservative outcry against Darfur or general starvation and suffering around the world instead of this “protect America by killing all of our enemies!” bull?

    There are horrors going on around the world every day, and we, comfy, well-protected America, got one day of horror, 7 1/2 years ago. Torture for intelligence does not work, it’s a well-known fact, despite what you see in the movies. People who are being tortured will say everything, anything, they think their captors want to hear. This is not reliable, and will not keep America safe. Furthermore, blowing the crap out of people is not a good long-term solution. Yeah, it may kill off a threat now, but how much longer can we exhaust out resources fighting this war on terror? And how many enemies will we create in that time? And how many allies will we have if we are hypocritical warmongers who torture, abuse, and improperly imprison?
    Finally, how can we stand up for America when our core ideals are unity, liberty, justice, and democracy, but we have gitmo, partisan division, stifling of dissent, and fascism ruling our country?

  • TerenceC


    I don’t think torture works – in any way, shape or form. As far as who is conducting the torture or in what country the torture occurs is beside the point. There are other methods that are more effective and that don’t require rationalizations in the collective American psyche. I am not an Obama fan regarding the latest torture meme’s – it’s a human rights violation and both he and his administration should know better. Currently the greatest problem in my opinion is the vacuum of truth regarding all the aspects of this issue.

  • TehCrim

    If waterboarding and the other techniques that there is such an outcry against didn’t work, why haven’t the memos on their effectiveness been publicized? If the left is so horrendously against anything other than asking politely for information, and have proof that the techniques used in the last eight years didn’t work to gather useful information, all Obama has to do is sign an executive order that releases the memos.

    He already publicized the first part, which was the questions we asked, and how hard we asked them. How about showing us the results? If the techniques didn’t work, we won’t need them anymore anyway.

    I don’t think he’ll ever do that, considering he’s left the table open for more enhanced interrogation, should it be required. Obviously it works, obviously useful information was obtained, and obviously Obama isn’t stupid enough to wipe the table clean of a tactic that is useful and could save lives.

  • Tully

    gerryf, I didn’t say any of what you just attributed to me. Thank you for the demonstration of dishonest discourse, though.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Ok so because this guy is a sissy and couldn’t take it – we can now officially classify it as torture….I had a bad experience with school – I hereby declare school – torture

  • Tucker

    If it’s not torture, and any tough guy can stand up to it, then how can it possibly be effective against terrorists willing to commit suicide?

  • Dbag

    I am a combat vet with three tours in the Middle east. I have been waterboarded in training, and so have most of the GIs I know.
    I have learned a few things from all of this. First war has no rules. Fight to win it, because no US enemy fights with rules.

    Second, American ideals of life, liberty, happiness, etc, were violently taken away from 2500 American citizens merely going about their daily lives on 9/11. Those responsible have no rights, except to be sent to get laid by virgins as soon as possible.

    This war against islam / fanatical muslims is a modern day Crusade. A battle for control of the world. The western world MUST win this war at all costs, by any means.

  • Real torture is listening to Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow or Rush Limbaugh !!

  • t

    It was only torture because he wasn’t doing it right and was actually drowning himself.

  • Paul

    If you don’t want to be “really” waterboarded don’t cut people’s heads off on video and then brag about it.

  • Ibid

    Paul: If you don’t want to have your head cut off by mujihadeen, don’t waterboard (or advocate waterboarding) people. The people doing this are the backlash that American foreign policy has created with decades of interfering and antagonism. *You* are perpetuating the situation by justifying it. Frankly it makes me sick that people hold this xenophobic and self-centred view that they must be the good guys, and that everyone else must therefore be evil. You dehumanise them and turn a blind eye on what caused this situation in the first place so you don’t have to think about the dubious morality involved. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and guess what – other people think that *you* are the terrorist, and they believe that they are more than justified in flying a plane into a building as revenge for you killing their friends and countrymen, supplying their enemies with weapons, and interfering in their politics just as you believe that you are justified in torturing them for having the audacity to fight back.

  • Ibid

    I agree with Ibid 1000%. The US is a bunch of crybaby’s. Try living in Chechnya or Israel, there is a 9/11 every week. I love the guy above, “Dbag” (an appropriate description of his character) he says “This war against islam / fanatical muslims is a modern day Crusade. A battle for control of the world. The western world MUST win this war at all costs, by any means.” I got sad news for you, we WILL lose in Afghanistan (we already are) and we have lost Iraq. Don’t make this about your fundamentalism in Christianity because let me tell you, as a combat veteran, you wouldn’t stand a chance versus some of these boys in Afghanistan, our marines sure don’t. Its time for us to quit fueling the fires in the Middle East before the USA gets burned.

  • Kathy

    I haven’t seen anyone here acknowledge that many if not most of the prisoners interrogated have done nothing worse than make an enemy among their countrymen, leading to being turned in for a cash reward. There is a reason our legal system has traditionally considered people innocent until proven guilty. These techniques have been noted by even some of their advocates (John McCain for one) to be mainly useful in getting the prisoner to say what the interrogator wants to hear. If you simply place yourself in the place of the prisoner, it is obvious that this is what happens… you would make anything up in order to stop the waterboarding or whatever is being done to you. False confessions are produced, leading to military tribunals which are essentially show trials. To those who want proof that torture doesn’t work: do you really think the powers that be have any interest in showing this? Producing convictions makes it look like they are doing their jobs, regardless of the the truth.
    It amazes me that people think it’s acceptable to torture innocent people in order to prevent a possible terrorist attack. US citizens are in far more danger from a crippled legal system than from terrorists- and that’s in addition to the fact that these disastrous policies are *producing* terrorists.

  • Regardless of whether this method is torture or not should not be the most important question. In the face of a global war on terror. A literal fight for information that will protect the very fabric of the free world. Is this method effective? Has it produced legitimate results? I don’t claim to have the answers, but I do believe that is the important questions to be asking.