Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sick, Sick People

No, I'm not talking about the virus that's been ransacking my family for the last couple of weeks.

I'm talking about some key people in the U.S. government for the last several years. Buried in an update to a long post by Digby on Dick Cheney is some material from Vanity Fair about the use of "intelligence" gleaned from torture:
“As soon as I learned that the reports had come from torture, once my anger had subsided I understood the damage it had done,” a Pentagon analyst says. “I was so angry, knowing that the higher-ups in the administration knew he was tortured, and that the information he was giving up was tainted by the torture, and that it became one reason to attack Iraq.

“We didn’t know he’d been waterboarded and tortured when we did that analysis, and the reports were marked as credible as they could be.” However, approval for Abu Zubaydah’s treatment had been given at the highest level.
We've been over this before (though not recently): not only is torture wrong, it doesn't work. At least, not in the sense that it provides accurate information. At some point, the victim of the torture just tells the interrogator what (s)he wants to hear. But some sick folks find that useful:
“The White House knew he’d been tortured. I didn’t, though I was supposed to be evaluating that intelligence,” the analyst says. “It seems to me they were using torture to achieve a political objective. I cannot believe that the president and vice president did not know who was being waterboarded and what was being given up.”
So there it is: I thought it was bad that they lied about the intelligence to justify invading Iraq, but it's actually worse. They tortured people to generate the "intelligence" they wanted to justify starting a war that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions displaced, turmoil in the region and the loss of international respect for the country.

It's just stunning what these folks have been up to in our name. As the apologists keep making the rounds on their "Bush legacy" tour, we need to remember that this is the legacy we inherit and will have to work to live down.

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