So given that the Bush Administration was repeatedly advised that torture was not only illegal but an unreliable way to gather intelligence… why did they pursue it anyway?
But I’ve been following the unfolding story about torturing detainees under the Bush administration. I’ve been connecting the dots. And I’m being led to a disturbing conclusion — even more disturbing in some ways than the revelations about the torture itself.
First, here are the known facts — the dots that I’m connecting.
Let me say that again. These were torture techniques that were known to produce bad information… and that were used, not in spite of this fact, but because of it.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Doesn’t it seem as if the interrogation and torture program of the Bush Administration was being pursued, not to gather intelligence about possible terrorist activities, but to produce propaganda?
Doesn’t it seem as if the torture program was being pursued to elicit a confession about a connection between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq… regardless of whether that connection actually existed?
Doesn’t it seem as if bad information — far from being a risk the Bush administration was willing to take — was actually the whole frakking point?
And what the torturers wanted them to do was to say that there was a connection between Al-Qaeda and Iraq.
So we could use that as propaganda.
Now. Since I do tend to be skeptical of conspiracy theories, and since I think it’s important for said theories to be falsifiable hypotheses and not simply unshakable articles of faith, I think it’s important to say upfront what evidence would convince me that I was mistaken.
So here’s what would convince me that I was mistaken: Credible internal documents showing that the Bush administration was sincerely pursuing what they thought were the best interrogation methods for getting reliable intelligence from detainees… and that they were willing to accept whatever information was gathered from those interrogations, even if it wasn’t the information they wanted or expected.
But in the absence of that evidence…
… and given how many more of these dots are being revealed every day, and how much clearer the picture they’re drawing is becoming with each new revelation…
…I am coming to the disturbing conclusion that the torture program was not simply a case of all human decency being lost in a panicked pursuit of terrorism. It was not simply a case of illegal, grotesquely immoral, blindly misguided overkill.
It was a case of all human decency being lost in an illegal, grotesquely immoral pursuit of propaganda.
And that chills me to the bone.