Torture for Ideology

Reports are in that link up the US tor­ture pro­gram and the hunt for the non-existent weapons of mass destruc­tion. Jonathan S Lan­day in McClatchy News quotes a “for­mer senior U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cial famil­iar with the inter­ro­ga­tion issue”:

“The main [rea­son for the tor­ture] is that every­one was wor­ried about some kind of
follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003,
Cheney and Rums­feld, espe­cial­ly, were also demand­ing proof of the links
between al Qaida and Iraq that (for­mer Iraqi exile lead­er Ahmed)
Cha­l­abi and oth­ers had told them were there.”

“There was con­stant
pres­sure on the intel­li­gence agen­cies and the inter­roga­tors to do
what­ev­er it took to get that infor­ma­tion out of the detainees,
espe­cial­ly the few high-value ones we had, and when peo­ple kept com­ing
up emp­ty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s peo­ple to push
hard­er,” he con­tin­ued.

All this is not real­ly a sur­prise; I cov­ered it in real time over on Non​vi​o​lence​.org. There were numer­ous reports that the Vice Pres­i­dent and Sec­re­tary of Defense were push­ing the intel­li­gence agen­cies to come up with evi­dence that would back their flawed the­o­ries.

The Unit­ed States is sup­posed to be the cham­pi­on of free­dom but we resort­ed to the most bru­tal of communist-era tor­ture tech­niques because our high­est offi­cials were more inter­est­ed in their car­toon view of the world than the com­plex real­i­ty (and not so com­plex: any­one who’s tak­en an “Intro to Islam” class would know that an alliance between Sad­dam Hus­sein and Osama bin Laden would be have been very unlike­ly). When facts and ide­o­log­i­cal the­o­ries don’t match up, it’s time to dig for more facts and revis­it the ide­olo­gies. 

  • Michael Radi­gan

    So Cheney and Rums­feld essen­tial­ly told the CIA, like Foghorn Leghorn, “Don’t both­er me with the facts, son, I’ve already made up my mind.”

    The Ba’ath Par­ty was his­tor­i­cal­ly the ene­my of Islamists like bin Laden. For instance, in 1982 the Syr­i­an Ba’ath dic­ta­tor Hafez al-Assad, Sad­dam Hussein’s ide­o­log­i­cal con­frère, essen­tial­ly wiped out the city of Hama in order to break the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Only some­one who didn’t look at the facts could have con­clud­ed that there was some con­nec­tion between al-Qaeda and Sad­dam Hus­sein.