Rather than “saving American lives,” torturing Zubayda provided false intelligence that led to a catastrophic war that killed more than 4,000 Americans.They tout evidence from a Vanity Fair column (what else) where the columnist establishes consensus with the following drool:
In researching this article, I spoke to numerous counterterrorist officials from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their conclusion is unanimous:All nameless in their unanimous conclusion, of course. Who's the enemy, again? Within?
Several days ago TP linked to a piece by former FBI counter terror agent Jack Cloonan mainly because he bashed the Bushies while advocating for his superior conventional interrogation techniques. Not to overly disagree with an expert, but are we to be impressed with methods that never produced any actionable clues as to the Embassy bombings, Cole, Millennium plot (thwarted by luck) or 9/11? No. And therein lies the point.
This argument is not about whether torture produces better intelligence than conventional means--most professionals say it doesn't. It's not about whether waterboarding is torture--most say it is. The point is one of urgency. When we were dunking Mr. Mohammed there was obviously a sense of pending doom via a follow-on attack. We already knew AQ had been talking with AQ Khan about nukes and the anthrax letters were still fresh in everyones' minds. The president had recently been excoriated for not 'connecting the dots'.
Meanwhile if KSM and Zubaydah knew anything it would be in their best interests to run a four corners offense and stall while we valiantly tried to establish rapport they weren't about to give. That's the most likely explanation of their harsh treatment.
Is it a slippery slope? Yes, especially if the players aren't honest (and we know about politicians). But when the alternative scenario is perhaps an end of the Republic as we know it, what's a Commander in Chief supposed to do? If Patrick Henry could come back and understand WMDs, would he amend his famous words or would he proudly insist we carry on with the Army Field Manual, whistling past the graveyard with our liberty intact? Tough question, and well beyond my pay grade.