Archive for the ‘Detainee Policy’ Category

Rand Paul interview

May 17, 2015

On May 16, 2015, I had the opportunity to interview presidential candidate Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky. Another reporter and I had about 12 minutes to ask him questions before he gave a speech in Fairfield’s Central Park.

As you will see from the transcript I’ve produced below, my questions sought to pry into Paul’s philosophy of government. I asked these for a couple of reasons, one was that I had no idea what answers he would give and I was genuinely curious what they would be, but also to gauge the depth of Paul’s philosophy, to determine whether he had carefully contemplated the issues or was spitting out bromides.

My commentary on the exchange, and my general thoughts on Paul informed by his speech that afternoon, follow the transcript.

I had a little trouble getting my recorder to start, so by the time the transcript starts I’ve been talking to Paul for a few seconds. During that time, I told him I wanted to begin by asking him questions about philosophy. That is why the introduction appears abrupt.

Hallman: What justifies government itself? Coercion seems like it’s wrong when it’s done by private individuals. It’s commonly believed that when government does it, that is an exception, that there is something special about government that justifies its coercion. What, if anything, do you think there is about government coercion that separates it from private coercion? To put it more pointedly, why is taxation not theft?

Paul: I think the best way to answer this is that we all inherently believe that for me to use coercion to tell you to do something as an individual is wrong. We have this idea that there is a non-aggression principle that aggression is something we shouldn’t use on another individual. Governments do use aggression and do use coercion. I don’t think we give up on the principle of saying it’s wrong, what we do is we acknowledge that it’s wrong, but we acknowledge that we want as little of it as possible. So really, it’s an argument that government that governs best, governs least because you have to give up some of your liberty to have government.

Now, if you want to be a purist and say all aggression against other individuals, governmental or individual, is wrong, then you’d believe in no government, but most of us believe we need some government, we need some stabilizing force in society, and so you give up some of your liberties.

I always tell people there are two reasons we minimize government: there’s the liberty argument and the efficiency argument. The liberty argument is, if you tax me 100 percent, then I’m zero perfect free. [If you] tax me 90 percent, then I’m 10 percent free. So the thing is, we want to minimize taxation because it is a form of coercion. So we don’t want a lot of it, we want a little bit of it if we have to have some government.

The efficiency argument is what Milton Friedman put forward, and Milton Friedman said nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely as their own, so it’s an argument for not giving a lot of money to a distant government, because they’re not very wise in how they spend it, and if you have to give it to a politician, you’d want to give it to a more local politician because you have more interaction with that politician, and ultimately you’d rather keep more for yourself because you’ll make wiser decisions than government.

Hallman: Yes, certainly. I’m not against all forms of coercion. What I was trying to get at is if you think there is something special about government that gives it political authority. That is, is there something about government that allows it to coerce people in a way that private individuals cannot? Surely, we understand there are extreme cases where a private individual can coerce someone [such as] in the case of self-defense or to prevent something very terrible from happening. I guess what I’m trying to get at is …

Paul: Most societies, in their original state, decided there would be a social compact.

Hallman: Ok, so it’s a social contract argument?

Paul: It kind of is, but nobody actually signs it.

Hallman: Right.

Paul: It’s an unstated, acceptance or agreement among a community that there will be some government. It isn’t abandoning the principle that government has to use coercive force. It’s acknowledging that, and trying to minimize that.

Hallman: [Let me] move on to another issue, but it’s along that same line about your general philosophy of government, and that is immigration restrictions. Immigration is in the news a lot. Immigration restrictions seem like an act of coercion, an act of aggression, preventing someone from moving where they want to, taking a job where they want to. So it seems like, on the surface, that is wrong. Why do you think immigration restrictions are justified?

Paul: Milton Friedman also had something good to say on this. He said basically you can’t have open borders and a welfare state. So the problem is … we’ve agreed to have some coercion and compulsion in our government. In our system, it’s much greater than I would have, so half of my income is taken from me and given to government. If we say we’re going to have an open border in that system, then it would be 75 percent or maybe 100 percent of my income that goes to other people through a form of compulsion. There was a PEW study that added up data from a lot of different countries, and asked them, if you could, would you go to the United States? 600 million would come. We’re a country of 300 million, it would be a bit disruptive to have 600 million people show up, so it has to be an orderly process, and there is now a great religious sort of struggle and war going on [and people] who for many different reasons, don’t like Americans and would come and kill us, so you have to know they’re coming across the border to try to stop them.

Hallman: Although, screening those out wouldn’t justify the kind of quotas that the government has instituted. To talk about what you just said about welfare, it’s true that welfare is an act of coercion, but I would think immigration controls may be a more grievous kind of coercion. You’re preventing someone from improving their life, perhaps by an order of magnitude in their earnings, if we talk about someone in Haiti or India.

Paul: If it were only border controls that had to do with people coming to work, I’m for as many people coming to work who want to. I’m for an expansive work visa program where we don’t mind people coming to work. The problem is, as Milton Friedman described it, is that we have an enormous welfare apparatus. Not everybody comes to work. Some people come to receive. If 60 million people come here [perhaps he meant 600 million, the figure he stated earlier], it would overwhelm us.

Hallman: It sounds like the solution and the just thing to do is to eliminate the welfare state and to eliminate the quota system. Would you be in favor of that, those two measures side-by-side?

Paul: We rarely get decisions like that. We get decisions on, “Do you want to improve the immigration system?” I think the immigration system is broken for a lot of reasons. We have 11 million people here who came in here and explicitly broke our laws to get here. So we do have to figure out something to do or 11 million more will come, so that means the immigration system writ large needs to be reformed and fixed.

[Questions by the radio station]

Hallman: Senator, I wanted to ask you a question about the use of drones and drone strikes. Of course, you became very famous for the drone filibuster you did a few years ago. The United States military is operating under a protocol that allows it to claim a very low number of civilian deaths because of how it counts civilians. Any male who is military age, whether they are armed, whether they’re a known member of al Qaeda, regardless of their identity, is counted as a combatant in a drone strike. Is that something the federal government needs to change … that the military needs to change that policy, to look at how it conducts drone strikes?

Paul: Yes. If you look at what we do, I think drones like any other weapon, can be useful in war, but I do think that ultimately there is an infinite amount of people who will rise up once you eliminate one level of leaders … another group lines up. Inevitably, there are accidents that happen, when a bomb lands on a wedding party, you inflame the thousand relatives of those people for the next … until memory is forgotten, which is sometimes centuries. So, we have to protect ourselves, but we also have to be aware that we have to do it in a way that does not make the situation worse.


To my opening question, it sounds like Paul thought I was asking him “Why is coercion justified?” and not the question I actually asked, which was, “What, if anything, do you think there is about government coercion that separates it from private coercion?”

After having a day to reflect on this question and why Paul did not answer it directly, I don’t think the question was too vague, and that Paul couldn’t tell what I was asking. Rather, I think the question is so rarely posed to legislators that Paul did not have a prepared response to it. I don’t fault him too much for this, since I’m fairly certain I would have gotten the same response from the other 99 senators.

When I clarify that I’m not asking about coercion generally, but specifically about the difference between governmental and private coercion, Paul alludes to the supposed “social compact,” while immediately acknowledging that it’s not a real compact that citizens have agreed to.

Social contract arguments do not make sense to me. The reason contracts have moral force is that the parties agree to them, so the fact that the social contract was not agreed to means it does not have the force of an ordinary contract.

My views on this subject are influenced by having just read Michael Huemer’s “The Problem of Political Authority,” in which he counters arguments for political authority, including social contract arguments. One variation he considers, and perhaps the one Paul meant, is a hypothetical social contract, one that we would have agreed to had we known all the facts, or something like that.

Imagine someone who is knocked unconscious and needs a life-saving operation, but we cannot obtain the person’s consent before operating. We can surmise the person would have agreed to the operation had they been able to, so we are justified in operating on the person. Is this analogous to a hypothetical social contract? No. In our example, the reason we are justified in operating is that the patient cannot consent. If the patient remains conscious and informs us they do not want an operation, we are not justified in forcing them to have one. This is analogous to how we find ourselves in the face of government coercion. We are in a position to consent to coercion, just like the conscious patient is able to consent to the surgery, so therefore government must obtain our consent before governing us. It cannot rely on hypothetical agreement when actual agreement is achievable.


One thing we learn from the interview is that Milton Friedman is a major influence on Paul’s views. I am heartened to hear that. It is important to keep in mind that Friedman was against the welfare state, not immigration. In fact, he was fully supportive of immigration as long as it was illegal:

Friedman: Look, for example, at the obvious, immediate, practical example of illegal Mexican immigration. Now, that Mexican immigration, over the border, is a good thing. It’s a good thing for the illegal immigrants. It’s a good thing for the United States. It’s a good thing for the citizens of the country. But, it’s only good so long as it’s illegal.

Friedman’s views aside, those who make the welfare objection to free legal immigration must answer two questions: 1) Given there is some tension between the size of the welfare state and free immigration, which is worse? Welfare or immigration restrictions? and 2) Is there some way to mitigate the effects of immigration on the welfare state that do not involve outright prohibition of immigration?

To question #1, it does not at all seem obvious to me that the tension between welfare and immigration implies immigration restrictions any more than it implies living with both open borders and a larger welfare state. As I point out to Paul, welfare is coercive just as immigration restrictions are coercive, so we must weigh the wrongness of each act of coercion.

Immigration restrictions appear to cause misery on a level the welfare state does not and could not based on any reasonable expectation of how Congress would respond to a large influx of immigrants. (If 600 million people immigrated to the country, we would more likely see a drastic reduction of benefits than we would see a drastic increase in taxes, because taxpayers do not like paying for people who are not like them.

The average Haitian experiences more than a seven-fold increase in wages upon immigrating to the United States, so my contention that some immigrants could see their earnings rise by “an order of magnitude” is an exaggeration for the average immigrant now under mostly closed borders but is not much of an exaggeration for the most destitute immigrants from the Third World.

I was glad to hear Paul say he was in favor of unlimited immigration for people who want to work. Since he is clearly worried about the size of the welfare state, I was disappointed he had not thought of keyhole solutions to allow free migration while cutting immigrants off welfare. We know this is politically feasible because the federal government has already done it. It did it two decades ago with the welfare reform act of 1996, which prevented legal immigrants from accessing many government benefits.


I was a little disappointed in Paul’s answer to my question about drones, although I admit it was not well formulated. Perhaps what I meant to ask was more along the lines of “Is it moral to kill military age men whose identities we don’t know?” but it came out jumbled.

Paul’s answer focused entirely on the blowback from drones and not on the potential wrongness of using drones to kill, which is what I was clumsily asking about. For instance, perhaps there is nothing wrong with hitting a beehive since bees have little to no moral worth, but it is still imprudent because the bees might sting you. But when we’re talking about firing a missile at a house or a car full of people, we’re not talking about bees, we’re talking about humans, and while bees might not have moral worth, humans do.

Paul did not give any indication as to whether he thought all military age males in a “strike zone” should be regarded as militants or not.


Paul gave a fantastic speech that afternoon that could have been lifted from the Libertarian Party’s platform. He touched on many civil liberties issues such as his opposition to the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records and his opposition to civil asset forfeiture. I felt I was witnessing a sea change in the Republican Party as the crowd applauded Paul’s opposition to the wars in Iraq and Libya. Although, here again, I was dismayed that Paul chose to focus on the ways in which the wars helped America’s enemies rather than on the deaths they caused.

He denounced detaining American citizens indefinitely without a trial, without clarifying whether it was also wrong to detain a non-citizen indefinitely. He mentioned the case of Richard Jewell, who some members of the media believed was responsible for the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta, but who in fact helped to evacuate the building upon discovering the bomb. Paul used the case to caution against jumping to conclusions about the guilt of potential terrorists.

“What would have happened if Richard Jewell had been a black man in the 1920s?” Paul asked the crowd.


By the end of the day, one thing about Paul was clear: He is the most libertarian presidential candidate who has a chance of winning. He is among the few candidates I’ve interviewed who is explicit in recognizing the wrongness of coercion and the presumption of liberty that advocates for government must overcome.

To that point, it is possible and even likely that other candidates will be more libertarian than Paul on select issues, but on the whole I believe Paul will be the most pro-liberty candidate in the field.


As Paul was walking out the door, I showed him Michael Huemer’s book “The Problem of Political Authority” and told him to read it. I explained that it had convinced me of the correctness of anarcho-capitalism, and I told Paul that I believed an anarcho-capitalist society was attainable. I mentioned that I knew Paul’s father Ron was familiar with Murray Rothbard, another anarcho-capitalist (Rand said he knew Rothbard, too).

Before entering his car, Paul told me that our current society was far removed from anarcho-capitalism, and that we would never get there without people like him moving society in that direction.

If Rand Paul becomes president, and the government comes crashing down, now you know whom to thank. ☺

Andy with Rand Paul_net

Rumsfeld can be sued for torture

August 9, 2011

I have a number of questions about law after reading this article from the Christian Science Monitor: Appeals court allows US citizens’ torture suit against Rumsfeld

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may be held personally responsible in a civil lawsuit for the alleged torture of two American citizens held without charge in a US military prison in Iraq in 2006, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.

That sounds like a positive development.

Government lawyers argued that the suit must be dismissed based on rulings in earlier cases by appeals courts in New York and Washington, D.C. The Chicago-based appeals court panel said the Vance/Ertel lawsuit was different because the two earlier decisions involved noncitizens.

Why does that matter?

[Judge Hamilton] added: “The wrongdoing alleged here violates the most basic terms of the constitutional compact(Ed. note: WTF?) between our government and the citizens of this country…. There can be no doubt that the deliberate infliction of such treatment on US citizens, even in a war zone, is unconstitutional.”

That’s funny, I don’t remember signing that compact.

While I whole-heartedly agree that the plaintiffs should have the right to sue Rumsfeld for their torture, I’m at a loss as to why that right is not extended to non-citizens. Can someone help me out?

Looking back on 2010, in 200 years

April 11, 2010

It’s hard to believe that slavery was once an acceptable idea. A lot of ideas that were common in the past are unfathomable now. It appears to many people, including me, that the society we live in is constantly shredding old prejudices and irrational ways of thinking. I believe this process will continue for many more years, and will probably never end.

An interesting question, then, is what common beliefs from the year 2010 will be held in contempt 200 years from now. In the year 2200, will human beings look back on our civilization with the same kind of shame that we now feel toward the slave traders from the 18th century? What characteristic of our society will elicit shock and horror in future generations?

If society continues to progress in the direction it has been for the last few hundred years, I can venture a guess, and that is:

My prediction: I believe the commonly held view that a person’s moral worth comes from their citizenship is the most pernicious and depraved idea of our age.

It is responsible for cavalier attitudes to waging war on foreigners and an indifference and unwillingness to alleviate their suffering. I hope and pray that in the coming centuries this belief will be seen as just as wicked and perverted as we now view racism.

Here is an example of the depravity I am referring to. It is the Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian, writing shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, explaining why the United States should not allow in more Haitian refugees:

Krikorian: The impact on the job prospects of the less-skilled American workers that additional Haitians would be competing with in an environment of widespread unemployment is a matter of indifference to those whose main concern is the well-being of the foreign country rather than of the people whose interests they are supposed to be pursuing. In short, the place to help Haitians is in Haiti, not the United States.

I’m curious to know what my readers think, so I’ve made a poll with what I believe are the leading contenders for “currently common attitude most likely to offend the sensibilities of future generations.”

If I’ve left off an important one, feel free to share your own in the comments section.

My interview with Chuck Grassley

January 26, 2010

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley after his town hall meeting in Kalona, Iowa, just 15 miles from where I live in Washington. While I am pleased Grassley keeps in close touch with all 99 counties in the state, I was put off by many of the statements he made.

I asked Grassley what he thought of Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in November when he said that Guantánamo detainees who are acquitted of terrorism charges may still be kept in prison. What follows is the transcript of my conversation with Senator Grassley.

Hallman: Do you think suspects should continue to be held after they are acquitted?

Grassley: I would hope they would be.

Hallman: Even after they are acquitted?

Grassley: Do you want someone like the Sheikh running out in the United States? [presumably referring to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed]

Hallman: What is the purpose of the trial?

Grassley: That’s the same question I asked Holder when he came before us.

Hallman: What was his answer then?

Grassley: If I’m leaving the impression that these people are acquitted that they’re going to be out roaming our streets, we have authority under other law to hold them. That’s my point. Then why did you bring them here in the first place?

I’m glad Grassley sees no point in putting on a trial where the government ignores the verdict. What concerns me is that his solution is to refuse the detainees trials in the first place, instead of what I think is the more sensible solution of honoring the verdict.

U.S. power knows no bounds

January 8, 2010

The United States is clearly the most powerful country in the world. It spends nearly as much on its military as the rest of the world combined. Such an extreme concentration of power deserves special scrutiny, no matter how benevolently it is exercised.

As it turns out, there is good reason to be worried of US global dominance. In a court ruling issued earlier this week, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit argued in Al Bihani v. Obama that the President’s war powers are not bound by international law or treaties ratified by the Senate.

The US government can arrest you and pretty much do whatever it wants to you because you have no rights (if you’re a non-citizen). It can detain you indefinitely without ever having to try you in a court of law.

The Obama Administration, which many civil libertarians thought would have more sensible views on detainee policy, supports indefinite detention of suspects even after they have been tried and acquited.

Salon contributor Glenn Greenwald has time and again shredded the administration’s legal arguments on indefinite detention. Greenwald has a great article about the administration’s plans to move detainees from Guantánamo Bay to a supermax facility in Thomson, Ill. GOP Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois raised a stink over the idea, and sent a list of questions about the move to the administration. Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn responded to Kirk’s questions in a letter:

Lynn: Consistent with longstanding policy regarding criminal prosecutions, the Department of Justice will pursue prosecutions of Guantánamo Bay detainees in Federal court only when admissible evidence or potentially available admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction. The Attorney General has made clear that he would not have decided to pursue prosecution of the accused 9/11 co-conspirators in Federal court if he did not believe prosecutors could secure a conviction.

Greenwald’s response hits the nail on the head:

Greenwald: But traditionally, what happens when such evidence is insufficient is not that the state just imprisons them anyway with no trial or puts them before some less rigorous tribunal; what’s supposed to happen when the state cannot convict someone is that the individuals are not charged and therefore not imprisoned. But here, the Obama administration is turning that most basic principle on its head: only those who it knows it can convict will get trials, but the rest will be shipped to Thomson — Gitmo North — to be put before a military commission or simply imprisoned without charges of any kind.

But these detainees are the hardest of the hardcore Al Qaeda terrorists, right? Actually, it turns out you don’t have to do much to be labeled an “enemy combatant” and thrown into this netherworld of a justice system. Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani simply cooked meals for the Taliban and is now detained at Guantánamo Bay. As the D.C. Judge Richard Leon wrote about Al Bihani’s activities last January, ”Napoleon himself was fond of pointing out: an army marches on its stomach.”

Obama’s tortured logic on abuse photos

June 14, 2009

President Barack Obama signaled in May that he would withhold photos of prisoners abused in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. This coming after the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in 2003 to release government documents relating to prisoner abuse in U.S. detention facilities.

In a statement Obama made May 13, he argued that the release of the photos will do nothing but “further inflame anti-American opinion and . . . put our troops in greater danger.”

Although Obama believes that the photos will likely provoke terrorism against US soldiers or foreign officials, he simultaneously maintained that the photos were “not particularly sensational.”

Really? Not sensational? That’s not the impression given by Major General Antonio Taguba, who remarked “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” and later “The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) are leading the charge in the Senate to have the photos withheld. The two issued a statement June 9 which read:

We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated. The photos do not depict anything that is not already known. Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

There is a lot wrong with this paragraph, so we’ll dissect it line by line.

We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated.

If the behavior done in the photo was prohibited, then the person doing it should have been punished. Notice there is no mention in the statement that the people responsible have been punished (and it is now more than five years after the abuse took place). Also, the fact that it is “being investigated” is totally meaningless because all regimes, no matter how repressive, can feign interest in correcting their own mistakes.

The photos do not depict anything that is not already known.

Really? It is already known that soldiers raped detainees? And if this information were already known, why would you spend any energy trying to block its re-release when it (evidently) has already been released?

Transparency, and in this case needless transparency….

Needless for whom? There are millions of Iraqis and Afghanis who have to decide whether or not they want to continue living under a U.S. occupation. How the U.S. treats their countrymen in prison is of course useful information when making that decision. Or do Lieberman and Graham not want them to make an informed decision, but rather a decision based on information run through a government filter; a filter that neatly removes incriminating and embarrassing information about the American occupation?

Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Exactly what is the causal relationship between the release of the photos and the taking of lives? Upon viewing the photos, a previously peaceful Iraqi will take up arms against the U.S. in an effort to expel it from the country. I’m to understand that U.S. foreign policy, and specifically detainee policy, is or potentially will be responsible for creating terrorism. And when the left says this very thing they are accused of “blaming America first”!

Actually, I haven’t seen any evidence that releasing photos will increase terrorism. But while we’re on the subject of increasing terrorism, what do Lieberman and Graham think will happen when the Iraqis and Afghanis learn that the U.S. has an official policy of concealing embarrassing information about its occupations? Can they honestly believe that that will not enrage the people they are occupying?

The Hoover Institution’s strange idea of torture

May 31, 2009

About a month ago, I watched the Hoover Institution’s Marc Thiessen defend the practice of waterboarding on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. The moderator of the program asked Thiessen what he thought of Christopher Hitchens and his decision to undergo the “enhanced” technique himself in the summer of 2008.

For background information, Hitchens wrote a column on his experience for Vanity Fair in which he declared “…if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

Thiessen stated that he did not agree with Hitchens that waterboarding was torture. Interestingly, Thiessen held that the fact that Hitchens underwent waterboarding voluntarily proved that it was not torture. In his own words:

“He [Hitchens] underwent waterboarding to see what it feels like, to prove that it was torture. In so doing, he proved it was not torture. A common sense definition of torture is, if you’re willing to try it to see what it feels like, it’s not torture. If I said to Christopher Hitchens, “I’m going to pull your teeth out with a pliers to see what it feels like, would you try it?” He wouldn’t try it.

This struck me as a particularly odd, and quite frankly bad argument to make for why waterboarding isn’t torture. Thiessen seems to believe that the only objectionable aspect of waterboarding, or any other torture technique, is the level of physical pain inflicted on the victim. No one would volunteer to have their teeth pulled out because it’s far too painful, whereas being waterboarded is seen as a comparatively painless activity to the point where someone is willing to undergo it just for writing material.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it ignores the key differences between Hitchens’s experience and the experience of an actual detainee. Those are: 1) A real detainee does not consent to be waterboarded; 2) A real detainee has no knowledge of the limitations his captors operate under and thus has no assurance he will not drown from the procedure; 3) A real detainee has no power to stop the procedure at any time, a power that Hitchens had when he consented to be waterboarded.

If you think these are irrelevant differences, consider the difference between consensual and nonconsensual sex. Surely Mr. Thiessen would not argue that rape cannot be called torture because we can find people willing to have intercourse. That is because what makes rape wrong is not principally the physical pain but the psychological pain, which can persist for years, resulting from the coercive nature of the act and the loss of personal autonomy, neither of which are felt by those who consent to sex.

And there is good evidence that waterboarding produces long-term psychological pain similar to rape. Dr. Allen Keller of the Bellevue/NYU Program for the Survivors of Torture testified to the U.S. Senate in 2007, stating that “Long term effects [of waterboarding] include panic attacks, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. I remind you of the patient I described earlier who would panic and gasp for breath whenever it rained even years after his abuse.”