Monday, June 1, 2009

Catch 22

I have been thinking quite a bit since I posted the other night about Richard Clarke's op ed. Its funny how you may have missed an angle on a story and then all of a sudden it comes into focus. That's how I feel about the moment when I read Clarke's column and he pointed out that the Bush Adminstration never tried to find out what the most effective form of interrogation was before ordering EITs. As I noted when I blogged on it, the remarkable thing is that nobody has brought up that fact in the recent months that torture has been discussed extensively. Almost all of the conversation has been about their legality or lack thereof or whether or not they worked. Nobody thought to ask why the Bush Administration thought it would work in the first place.

Now following up on that lets not forget that we know from the OLC memos that these interrogation techniques were basically new and untested in terms of interrogation methods. Two men reverse engineered the torture techniques by using SERE school guidelines. Why that is important is it means that there was no record going in on how effective these methods would be. The point of SERE school was and is to prepare our soldiers who are going into theaters of war for what might happen if they are captured. They were being prepared not to resist giving up vital information, but to resist giving false confessions which could be used as propanda for our enemies.

Based on the fact that so much effort was put into trying to find a way to term these torture techniques as being legal under the Bush Administration would lead me and most reasonable people to similarly believe that such tactics had never before been authorized. If they had then there would have already had been legal precedent for what the CIA was about to do.

Of course that doesn't necessarily mean that the techniques had never been employed but if it had been done in the past that would mean that it had been done without legal cover.

But back to the issue at hand. What is apparent now after having thought it over is that Bush et al put the safety of our country at the peril of interrogation techniques that had no previous track record to go by. Other than the fact that it would come across "looking tough" there was no real reason to believe that EITs or torture or whatever you choose to call it, would work any better than traditional interrogation techniques. And that goes hand in hand with Ali Soufan's account that these torture techniques did more harm than good when it came to the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.

And yet no one in the media has brought this point up.

And when you think about it, the only way the Bush Administration could claim to know the techniques worked before using them would be if they admitted that the techniques had been employed before they were deemed legal. Or worse they would have to say that the SERE school was really a way for our military to use men and women headed to war as guinea pigs. Because if neither one of those are true, and I personally don't think they are, then its apparent that the Bush Administration ordered these kinds of interrogations just because they "believed" that might is always right. That pain will always yield the best results. That force was the answer to any problem.

And really, based on everything else we saw from the Bushies, doesn't that just make perfect sense?

When oh when will our mainstream media try to get to the bottom of this?

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