Saturday, September 09, 2006

Torturing Zubaydah

The only reassuring thing about this article is the fact that there were more than a few people in our government who resisted the idea of torturing a captured terrorist suspect. It sure as hell isn't the government official who said:

“When you are concerned that a hardcore terrorist has information about an imminent threat that could put innocent lives at risk, rapport-building and stroking aren’t the top things on your agenda.”

Except when it works, as it appeared to in this case.

Or the official who said this:

“He was lying, and things were going nowhere,” one official briefed on the matter said of the early interviews. “It was clear that he had information about an imminent attack and time was of the essence.”

Except he didn't, and it wasn't.

In those two quotes alone you find encapsulated the problem that reasonable people have with torture: a) it is highly questionable whether it even works better than non-coercive interrogation and b) it's a complete and utter waste of time when you don't even know if they know anything worth telling you, because someone being tortured is likely to make up what you want to hear, to get you to stop.

It doesn't take geniuses to know or acknowledge these two inconvenient facts about torture. Just people with common-sense and some amount of moral character, two things sorely lacking in the upper-ranks of the Bush administration.

1 comment:

Nat-Wu said...

It's hard to convince some people that torture actually isn't an effective technique for getting information. I guess they forget that it's just a tv show when they're watching 24.