The Bush Administration works hard to set the terrorists free
July 21, 2008 1 Comment
It has always been an indisputable point of logic that torture does not produce reliable confessions. A person subject to torture will say what they need to say in order to stop the pain.
For example, the Atlantic notes in October 2003:
Few support the use of physical pressure to extract confessions, especially because victims will often say anything (to the point of falsely incriminating themselves) to put an end to pain.
Enter the Bush Administration, and its voracious appetite for torturing suspected terrorists. I have little doubt that they got some great sounding stuff from the waterboarding and other tactics that have been reported on over these past few years.
The issue of whether torture is an effective interrogation method needs no high and mighty ideals of human rights and liberties to make it an unacceptable practice. It is a matter of simple logic, one that should have been obvious to anyone responsible with producing evidence for a criminal or war crimes trial.
As of today, logic and the rule of law prevails:
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.
… The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of the “highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were made.”
At Bagram, Hamdan says he was kept in isolation 24 hours a day with his hands and feet restrained, and armed soldiers prompted him to talk by kneeing him in the back. He says his captors at Panshir repeatedly tied him up, put a bag over his head and knocked him to the ground.
… In addition to the other interrogations, the judge said he would throw out statements whenever a government witness is unavailable to vouch for the questioners’ tactics.
As Slate Magazine pointed out on May 14, 2004:
… the net effect of torture is to undermine the entire federal law enforcement effort to put terrorists behind bars.
… By using torture to question the top terrorists it has in custody, the government has effectively sabotaged any future prosecutions of al-Qaida players—major and minor—that might depend on evidence gathered through those interrogations.
We don’t need to address the issue of human rights or international law to condemn the use of torture, and it isn’t as if those concerns have had any discernible bearing on the actions taken by the Bush Administration. It is enough to condemn torture because it does not and can not produce credible evidence.