Friday, May 15, 2009

The unreliability of torture was the point

It's becoming clearer all the time that to Dick Cheney the unreliability of torture, the tendency of people being tortured to confabulate, to tell their tormentors whatever they want to hear wasn't a bug, it was a feature.
(CNN) -- Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.

Dick Cheney's office ordered use of "alternative" techniques against CIA's recommendations, aide says.

The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.
"Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.
Torture was never about saving lives or mythical TV ticking bomb scenarios. It was all about getting confirmation of an Iraq/al Qaeda link. Since such a link between a secular police state and fanatical opponents of all secular states in the Middle East did not exist, the unreliability of torture was necessary to get the false confirmation the Bush administration wanted.

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