Saturday, September 16, 2006

Torture Doesn't Work

The only thing that torture accomplishes is to keep people in fear.

My mom knew that. Fear of a spanking led each of her sons to publicly behave as she wished, but also to develop his own personal, private underground. She made us radicals.

I remember sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to make wine. A cup of grape jam, a scoop of sugar, a touch of yeast and some water in a mason jar that got shaken and tucked away in a corner of the cellar. My own private brewery at age eleven.

Living in fear, we gave her what she wanted. But she was never quite sure of where we were at. She lived in a kind of fear, herself - a fear that the reality she had asked from us was false and was nothing more than a reflection of her own nature.

The torturer lives in doubt. How can you tell when a guy has given all he's got? Only by torturing everybody until either they talk or until there is nothing more that can be done to them.

The people who have nothing to give must be tortured to the max to prove it.

Some argue that torture is worthwhile because it scares people. But if you use fear to manage populations, do you really win the hearts and the minds of people? Or will you be like my mother with her sons, each potential insurgent plotting an independent life of freedom?

People who interrogate detainees say that torture doesn't work.

Ask retired Air Force Col. John Rothrock or Army Col. Stuart Herrington. They interrogated prisoners. They don't think it works.

Ask Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine.

Ask Rear Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General for the Navy, and in the same link,

- Bob Baer, former CIA official,
- Lawrence Korb, former Naval Intelligence officer and Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration,
- Michael Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, and
- Dan Coleman, retired FBI agent, all of whom have perspective from experience.

Read in the link above, for heaven's sake, the Army's own Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1,
"Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."

FBI policy is that torture is ineffective. From an FBI e-mail in the same link above:
" along with the FBI advised that the LEA [Law Enforcement Agencies] at GTMO were not in the practice of the using and were of the opinion results obtained from these interrogations were suspect at best. BAU explained to DoD, FBI has been successful for many years obtaining confessions via non-confrontational interviewing techniques."
Conservative John Derbyshire, writing in the National Review Online, says
"Like Alter, I'll go along with some clever manipulation of a suspect's hopes and fears: But rubber truncheons? Electrodes? Pliers? Razor blades? Blocks of ice? Not in my name, no. Am I an absolutist on this? Yes, I am."
Torturing others sets you up to be told what you want to hear.

Being told what you want to hear - and being the president - is what has put this country where it is today.


Blogger Dan McIntyre said...

"It was hard to believe I'd get out," Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release — without charge — last month. "I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell."

But he's out now. Hearts and minds, people.

We are holding 14 thousand more like him. We don't know what to do with them.

8:53 PM, September 17, 2006  

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