Friday, May 1, 2009

Dan Froomkin PWNS The Kraut

Dan Froomkin takes apart his fellow Washington Post opinion columnist Charles Krauthammer's argument supporting torture that was published in their paper this morning. I suggest you go read the whole thing but I wanted to point out on part of Froomkin's column that I have said before and that I believe needs to be shouted from the hills.

For instance, he writes: "KSM, the mastermind of 9/11 who knew more about more plots than anyone else, did not seem very inclined to respond to polite inquiries about future plans. The man who boasted of personally beheading Daniel Pearl with a butcher knife answered questions about plots with 'soon you will know' -- meaning, when you count the bodies in the morgue and find horribly disfigured burn victims in hospitals, you will know then what we are planning now."

But as
Scott Shane recently pointed out in the New York Times, with more than a little understatement: "Mr. Mohammed, captured on March 1, 2003, was waterboarded 183 times that month. That striking number, which would average out to six waterboardings a day, suggests that interrogators did not try a traditional, rapport-building approach for long before escalating to their most extreme tool."

We have been sold the story that Khalid Sheik Muhammed and others were tortured because they didn't respond to traditional interrogation techniques. In point of fact the OLC memos are supposed to give guidance that the torture techniques were supposed to use in an escalating fashion and that was a part of what was supposed to make it legal. But its obvious to anybody who is paying attention that there is simply no way in the hell that any traditional interrogation techniques were tried with KSM. In fact it appears that they didn't even try the lower forms of torture either and just went straight to waterboarding. And if there is one thing that will crack the legal justification for torturing these men I believe it would be proving that whether the OLC memos themselves were legal or not (which they weren't) they weren't followed anyway. That puts CIA contractors on the hook for torture and I just bet that they will start the ball rolling uphill to put blame exactly where it should be, on those in the Bush administration who ordered torture in the first place. At least I hope thats what ends up happening.

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