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Non-Existent Iraq/Al-Qaeda Link Spurred Torture Practices

April 22, 2009

The Washington Post has the story of the release of a Senate report on the approval and use of torture techniques by intelligence and military officials. Among the revelations:

The report shows Pentagon officials reaching out to the military agency for advice on interrogations as early as December 2001 and finding some specialists eager to help. By late 2001, counterterrorism officials were becoming frustrated by the paucity of useful leads coming from interrogations — a meager showing that was linked, according to one Army major, to interrogators’ insistence on “establishing a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq,” the report said.

It has been said on this blog that one of the arguments against torture is a pragmatic one: that torture shouldn’t be employed because torture doesn’t work. (See previous post here.) It often provides false information that results in wasted time and resources. It is a criminal irony, then, that the Bush administration–besides engaging in wasteful, illegal and many would say, immoral, activities–was employing torture tactics in an attempt to establish a non-existent connection between the 9/11 actors and the state of Iraq. That they were using, in other words, an unreliable tactic to secure unverifiable answers.

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