The Renewed Debate On Torture

With the death of Bin Laden, conservatives are going on a proverbial victory tour of their own.  The argument:  since partial intelligence leading to Bin Laden’s demise came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and since Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation,” then it’s clear torture works!!  Bush and Cheney are vindicated!!!

The viewpoints of professional interrogators would seem to contradict that argument.  This piece for the Huffington Post quotes several interrogators who say torture not only doesn’t work, but it slowed down the effort to find Bin Laden (the effort also being slowed down by an unnecessary war).  Retired CIA officer Glenn Carle, who oversaw interrogations, is quoted as saying the “enhanced” techniques regressed efforts to gain intelligence.  Matthew Alexander, the interrogator responsible for locating Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, stated once detainees were subjected to torture, “they gave us the bare minimum amount of information they could get away with to get the pain to stop, or to mislead us.”

Mohammed denied the key courier that was tracked to Bin Laden had anything to do with Al Qaeda.  Another tortured detainee denied knowing the courier at all.

Beyond the debate on torture’s effectiveness, you have the moral question to deal with.  Conservatives scoff at the notion that waterboarding is contrary to America’s values.  With this question, I’ll instead turn to the ideals of Lincoln and Washington instead of the ideals of Hannity, who apparently sees nothing un-American about adopting techniques used by Chinese communists against American soldiers.

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