Torture doesn’t work

Updated
 
Torture advocates like Dick Cheney were wrong about its efficacy.
Torture advocates like Dick Cheney were wrong about its efficacy.
Associated Press

During the Bush/Cheney era and the debate over U.S. torture policy – that there was even a “debate” still strikes me as ridiculous – one of the key arguments from torture proponents like Dick Cheney was that these tactics worked. When American officials tortured terrorist suspects, we’d learn valuable information.

In some ways, the argument missed the point. Torture is illegal and morally reprehensible, so discussing its efficacy is irrelevant. But even if we move past those realizations, all available evidence suggests torture doesn’t work, and those being interrogated will simply say anything to make the torture stop.

For those needing still more proof, Reuters’ Mark Hosenball reports today on an upcoming Senate report that will further debunk Bush administration claims about the value of torture.

A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh “enhanced interrogation techniques” the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

People familiar with the inquiry said committee investigators, who have been poring over records from the administration of President George W. Bush, believe they do not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups. […]

For nearly three years, the Senate intelligence committee’s majority Democrats have been conducting what is described as the first systematic investigation of the effectiveness of such extreme interrogation techniques.

As a political matter, this may soon be relevant again. For one thing, we’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, and many Republicans argued that intelligence acquired through torture led to information on his whereabouts. This new Senate report found “no evidence” to support this claim.

For another, as the elections draw closer, Republican support for torture may yet plan a role in the 2012 debate.

Regardless, the evidence is entirely one-sided. The “debate,” such as it is, should be considered over.

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Torture doesn't work

Updated