Showing posts with label Torture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Torture. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2011

Since he's been there, I tend to defer to McCain on this issue.

McCain says torture did not lead to bin Laden.

Waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques were not a factor in tracking down Osama bin Laden, a leading Republican senator insisted Thursday.

Sen. John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, also rejected the argument that any form of torture is critical to U.S. success in the fight against terrorism.

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, the Arizona Republican said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and others who back those tactics were wrong to claim that waterboarding al-Qaida's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, provided information that led to bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

McCain said he asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and that the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed. In fact, the name of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.

"Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information," McCain said. He called on Mukasey and others to correct their misstatements.
Note that I said "defer," not necessarily "trust." A person who has been subjected to torture himself justifiably has every reason to oppose torture on every ground.  McCain's experience may make him a poor source to objectively assess the operational value of torture as a method. He may be exactly the wrong person to assess from a utility standpoint whether torture "works." 

I would therefore be interested in hearing more from Panetta.

On the other hand, McCain seems like the right person to assess the larger issues of the "value" of torture since he's been there.  On that level, he might be the right guy to listen to about what torture is, when it occurs and what it does to those associated with it.
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