Friday, December 09, 2005

Lies Built on Lies Built on Torture

It is generally agreed - outside of the current administration and their chickenhawk supporters - that torture does not yield "actionable" information. Depending on the character and mental and physical strength of the victim, you get either nothing or you get anything that will make the pain stop. Scientifically this fact is unassailable; but like peak oil, global warming and evolution, that doesn't stop BushCo. from calling it all bullshit and doing whatever it wants anyway.

So it was with little surprise to me that I read this in today's New York Times:

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.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.
That these two practices, torture and rendition have become arcane legal and political discussions and the subject of "negotiation" in our Congress will be, in the long view of history, one of the most horrible tangents American actions have ever taken. Not only will it greatly increase the danger to our soldiers everywhere in the world, but it does perhaps irreparable damage to our national psyche.

Can we ever again hold our heads quite so high in the world again? The United States has become like the high school honor student and football captain who has been revealed to be pimping the cheerleading squad to his teammates to pay for his crack habit.

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