Sunday, April 26, 2009
The poor neocons - their torture defense is melting away right in front of our eyes.
1. "America Doesn't Torture." That's what George Bush insisted for four years. Of course the International Committee of the Red Cross said we did. So did the Senate Armed Services Committee. So did Judge Susan Crawford. And we just learned Abu Zubaydah (AZ) and Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) were waterboarded 266 times.
2. "Waterboarding Isn't Torture." Sure - tell that to the Japanese soldiers we prosecuted for waterboarding after World War II; some were hanged. Or the U.S. soldiers we court-martialed in the Philippines. Or the sherriff we prosecuted in the southwest. Heck, tell that to the Spanish Inquisition. If it isn't torture, why did the CIA destroy every one of the waterboarding tapes?
3. "Torture Prevented Another 9/11." Bush said that as well in 2006, claiming the torture of KSM in March 2003 prevented a 9/11-style attack on the Library Tower in Los Angeles. But that attack was stopped in February 2002, more than a year before KSM was captured.
4. "Torture Gave Us Valuable Intelligence." That's Dick Cheney's current defense and his argument for declassifying two memos that allegedly prove his case. But as all Cheney-watchers know, this is simply an exercise in "cherry picking" evidence that he likes while suppressing evidence he doesn't - especially the CIA Inspector General's report concluding torture didn't work. And the evidence that the only valuable intelligence from AZ and KSM was obtained by FBI interrogators without torture, while subsequent CIA torture produced only lies.
5. "Torture is Legal in an Emergency." Wrong! The Convention Against Torture allows no exceptions. And if it was legal to torture foreigners, it would be legal to torture Americans. In any event, torture doesn't produce reliable information - not after 183 sessions, and certainly not after 1.
6. "The Torture Lawyers Interpreted the Law in Good Faith." That assumes they didn't know waterboarding was torture (see #2). It assumes they didn't know torture doesn't work, but Pentagon experts at JPRA told them it didn't. It assumes there were no lawyers who objected, but every JAG did. State Department lawyer Philip Zelikow objected in a memo, but they destroyed every copy.
7. "A Torture Investigation Would Paralyze the CIA." Before Bush-Cheney, the CIA was never in the interrogation business - that was the job of skilled interrogators at the FBI and the Defense Department. The CIA's primary job is to recruit willing spies (primarily through bribes), not unwilling prisoners (through torture), because the CIA believes information given willingly is infinitely more reliable than information given unwillingly. (Just ask Tyler Drumheller.) So the CIA is delighted to be out of the torture business.
8. "A Toture Investigation Will Help The Terrorists." That argument became moot after the Abu Ghraib photos were published. And torture victims don't need the U.S. media to describe their horrific treatment to the Arabic media. The worst information is already known to the world; the only question now is whether the Torturers will face Justice.