Thursday, May 14, 2009

How I predicted the false torture confessions

Last month, we found out that the real reason the Bush administration tortured prisoners was the same reason that evil people always torture prisoners -- to extract false confessions. In particular, as we learned from Col. Lawrence Wilkerson today, Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq, so he ordered interrogators to torture prisoners until they said that Saddam Hussein was helping Al-Qaeda. Well, who could have predicted such a thing?

Me, that's who.

Way back in the fall of 2006, as Congress was debating the Military Commissions Act, the Providence Journal ran a hideous editorial defending the use of torture. It was such an odious pile of excrement that I felt compelled to issue a line-by-line rebuttal (a fisking, as we bloggers say) on my old blog, Newport 9. The Newport 9 blog no longer exists, but I felt the ProJo's atrocity deserved a wider airing, so I cross-posted my piece to a Daily Kos diary. That diary is still there, so I'd like to take this opportunity to quote a section of it:

While experts disagree on whether torture works,

Major, major weaselness here. Whenever people want to muddy the waters on an issue, they always resort to the old "experts disagree" dodge: "experts disagree" about global warming, "experts disagree" about cigarettes causing cancer, "experts disagree" about evolution, and on and on and on.

Anyone who isn't a moral cripple knows that torture doesn't work. All torture lets you do is make somebody say what you want them to say. Here's how it goes:

INTERROGATOR: Was Saddam Hussein working with bin Laden to attack America?
CAPTIVE: Of course not, they hate each others' guts.

INTERROGATOR: Wrong answer.


INTERROGATOR: Now, I'm going to ask you again. Was Saddam Hussein working with bin Laden to attack America?


INTERROGATOR: Williams, contact the President, tell him we've confirmed the link between Saddam and bin Laden.
There you have it, folks, proof of my awesome powers of predictiveness. (And yes, it's true that my Daily Kos User ID is 2558, making me one of the Secret Masters of the Great Orange Satan. Bow down and worship me, you ignorant masses!)

So, how did I do it? Did I have a time machine that I used to travel to the year 2009 to learn the truth about Bush's torture regime? Sadly, no. I had to rely on that rarest of faculties, simple common sense. I knew that torture didn't work, and that a person being tortured will say whatever his interrogators want him to say. I knew that the Bushies were using the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to invade Iraq. Egro, logic suggested that the Bushies were using torture to gain a false link between 9/11 and Iraq.


(cross-posted to Rhode Island's Twelfth)


democommie said...

Tom K:

It's good to know that you and Jesse Ventura both know that waterboarding is torture. It's great that you learned that without having to undergo controlled simulated simulations of being drowned. It's also good that you were able to figure it out, without having to actually experience the process, a couple of years before it occurred to Mr. Ventura (who must have gone through his SERE training, what, 20-25 years ago?) to speak out about it publicly.

Why when I think of Jesse Ventura do I think, "John McCain redux".

Nancy Green said...

I have a post on Kmareka about how torture was effective in identifying terrorists during the Inquisition. Everyone confessed.

Kelli Anne Busey said...

America must hold our country accountable for torturing humans. President Obama has predictably hedged on this process after becoming aware of the lose of national prestige that will accompany this process of reconciliation. Is there any other way?