Friday, December 09, 2005

The Real Price of Interrogation Under Torture

New disclosures provide "the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of Qaeda members and others detained as part of American counterterrorism efforts."
Douglas Jehl's New York Times article 'Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied to Coercion Claim' has profound implications.

If, in fact, the administration based crucial prewar claims about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on the statements of a prisoner under Egyptian custody who later claimed to have lied to escape harsh treatment -- questions arise as to our government's current policy of condoning torture and clandestine prisons in the gathering of intelligence.

The first and most obvious implication is that torture doesn't work: torturing prisoners for information leads to false information. But that's old news. The CIA has known that for years.

The second implication is more interesting: If the administration based their intelligence (which they now know to be false) on a man who was tortured, shouldn't they have learned from their mistakes and sworn off torture as a method of gathering intelligence? After all, it produced one of the biggest blunders in modern history: it led to an unnecessary war.

Yet, the administration has done just the opposite. With Cheney as their head cheerleader and Condi close behind, they continue to promote secret prisons and interrogation by torture--whether they want to call it torture or not is another issue--to the world community, it's torture.

The obvious question is why would they promote a technique to gather intelligence that has been proven not to work, ethical considerations aside?

There can be only one answer: They don't want accurate intelligence.

They want to manufacture, i.e., make up, their own intelligence in order to justify their own ends. Which is, as most in America now believe, exactly what they did to get us into the Iraq war.

This all fits neatly into the President's proclivity for fantasy over reality government. And it really should come as no surprise to those of us who have been observing the politically underhanded and unethically dishonest techniques of Vice, Rove and friends for years.

What should frighten us the most, however, is that our government is manipulating us so blatantly in order to achieve their own dark ends, at our expense--and yet we let them get away with it -- over and over again.

Which leads to the most tragic implication of all: What in God's name does that say about us?

PHOTO: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted yet again that the United States did not use torture, but urged understanding of the methods needed to fight terrorism, calling it 'a different kind of war'(AFP/Daniel Mihailescu)

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