Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've frequently wondered why the Bush Administration was so into torture. It's pretty clear that you don't get reliable information from a person you torture, and I have to think that the officials who pushed for it knew this, on some level. I concluded that they wanted to use torture the way that repressive regimes throughout history have used it: as a means of control, an awful example of the power of the state and how it can be turned against enemies of the regime - be they terrorists or dissidents.

I also thought that at least some of these people, and I'm not sure which ones, but some of them among this group of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Bybee, Yoo - some of them got off on it. Sadists who enjoyed the exercise of power over others. That it was done in the name of protecting the state gave them the necessary cover to justify what they did.

Then just now, I read this report from McClatchy:
The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime...

..."There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

"The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubeida at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

"There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder," he continued.

"Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn't any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies."

Senior administration officials, however, "blew that off and kept insisting that we'd overlooked something, that the interrogators weren't pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information," he said.
If the evidence didn't exist, manufacture it. Torture prisoners until they told you it was true.

Nothing was going to stop the Bush Administration from having their war. Not the truth and certainly not justice.

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