Friday, December 09, 2005

"Torture Works" yet again

"The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials." -In the NYTimes today.

Please, please, please, tell me again how torture is 'just good policy' from a pragmatic position. I'd love to hear it.


elendil said...

It's interesting that they refer to it as a "new disclosure". Perhaps what's new is that the article now says it very explicitly. WaPo only alluded to it in Aug 04, and the New Yorker wrote about it in Feb 05, but only quoted a retired FBI officer (though I have little doubt they got onto the story from direct sources).

Perhaps what is new is not the story but the political climate. The American people are now ready to hear that there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and now ready to hear that their govt renditions and tortures people. I have even noticed an increase in Google hits to my torture blog.

Am I allowed to feel hopeful? :-)

Rufus said...

Yeah, I have a feeling that there is pretty serious demand for anti-torture legislation at this point. I know my father, who is fairly conservative, is horrified at the idea that we have tortured, or turned people over to nations that do torture. So, the administration is becoming pretty isolated on that one.

elendil said...

I wonder if there is a case to be made in support of American armed forces, in that forcing them to be torturers is a really damaging thing to do to them. I did some research on the psychological effects of torture recently, but all I found was about the effects on the victim. I need to make friends with someone in the social sciences and pick their brain about this one.

Rufus said...

To be honest, I think most of the victim-centered arguments are a lot less convincing than the argument that the practice is damaging to our society. That would include the devastating psychological effects on soldiers who still believe in honor and valor and decency... which I'm guessing would be the majority. So, yes, I think it's a horrible thing for us as Americans to have to live with.