Demand Better from Washington

Torture is illegal.

Torture is shameful.

Torture is immoral.

Torture doesn’t work.

Pick whichever one of those works for you.

The CIA lied about it to Congress and the Administration lied to the American people.

Many in the American right are freaking out because, when you get past the pretexts, they simply love torture. They think it shows strength and leadership, and that waterboarding or making a guy stand for hours in the cold on his broken legs is magically going to produce good information.

But if you need proof that the CIA’s torture program was not just illegal, but morally depraved, consider they even tortured the guy who “sang a like tweetie bird” on his own. We shoved hummus up guys’ asses for freedom. 20% of the detainees shouldn’t have been there. There was no meaningful oversight. As most people thought, sadistic federal retiree Dick Cheney’s name is all over the report.

The CIA’s torture program was worse than anyone thought, and produced nothing worthwhile. It was ended by President Obama in 2009.

What was revealed yesterday amount, frankly, to war crimes, and this – from the CIA – isn’t good enough:

As noted in CIA’s response to the study, we acknowledge that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes. The most serious problems occurred early on and stemmed from the fact that the Agency was unprepared and lacked the core competencies required to carry out an unprecedented, worldwide program of detaining and interrogating suspected al-Qa’ida and affiliated terrorists. In carrying out that program, we did not always live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves and that the American people expect of us. As an Agency, we have learned from these mistakes, which is why my predecessors and I have implemented various remedial measures over the years to address institutional deficiencies.

You want to argue that these detainees deserve it because they were murderers and terrorists? Some of them were, some of them weren’t. But if you’re comparing our behavior to that of our brutal mass murderer enemy, that’s a pretty low standard.

If you think that the American government’s moral and legal standards should be equal to that of al Qaeda or Daesh, what does that make us?

Torture Only Hurts America

Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge waterboards a prisoner, gets no information

Well, America, at long last the news reveals that torture – Washington preferred the euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques” – don’t work. Didn’t work. Were counterproductive

The report is the most detailed independent examination to date of the agency’s efforts to “break” dozens of detainees through physical and psychological duress, a period of CIA history that has become a source of renewed controversy because of torture scenes in a forthcoming Hollywood film, “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Officials familiar with the report said it makes a detailed case that subjecting prisoners to ­“enhanced” interrogation techniques did not help the CIA find Osama bin Laden and often were counterproductive in the broader campaign against al-Qaeda.

The committee chairman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ­(D-Calif.), declined to discuss specific findings but released a written statement describing decisions to allow the CIA to build a network of secret prisons and employ harsh interrogation measures as “terrible mistakes.”

“I also believe this report will settle the debate once and for all over whether our nation should ever employ coercive interrogation techniques,” Feinstein said.

While Republicans are unhappy with the report, one who actually suffered torture when captured in Hanoi had this to say, 

the committee’s work shows that “cruel” treatment of prisoners “is not only wrong in principle and a stain on our country’s conscience, but also an ineffective and unreliable means of gathering intelligence.”

We didn’t find bin Laden because we waterboarded someone. We found him because of excellent detective / intelligence work. Torture would be the anti-intellectual replacement for that. If it worked.