James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Truth About Torture

William Pfaff on why it doesn't work:

The United States has never before officially practiced torture. It was not deemed necessary in order to defeat Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. Its indirect costs are enormous in their effect on the national reputation, their alienation of international opinion, and their corruption of the morale and morality of the American military and intelligence services.

Torture doesn’t even work that well. An indignant FBI witness of what has gone on at the Guantanamo prison camp says that “simple investigative techniques” could produce much information the Army is trying to obtain through torture.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Bush administration is not torturing prisoners because it is useful but because of its symbolism. It originally was intended to be a form of what later, in the attack on Iraq, came to be called “shock and awe.” It was meant as intimidation. We will do these terrible things to demonstrate that nothing will stop us from conquering our enemies. We are indifferent to world opinion. We will stop at nothing.

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