We need to discuss torture and intelligence. As so often happens, the Right Wing frames an issue that should be flushed down the toilet in such a way that it becomes a public discussion. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have attempted to establish the fact that torture is acceptable if it is done in the context of trying to learn details of an enemy’s strategy or strengths. This is not true. And it is laughable, as the following clip demonstrates.
Intelligence is gathered from many sources. Professional interrogators, despite what one may see in the movies or in the fantasies of George W. Bush, do not employ pain or suffering to obtain information. Although as with everything in life there are possible exceptions, there are fewer in this situation than in most others. There is no need to torture prisoners. It is not taught in intelligence schools, nor is it common practice. Torture and intelligence are not equatable. Torture does not work as a technique and as a practice is therefore never employed. It is also inhumane and against the international code of military ethics to which all U.S. commanders subscribe and which they follow assiduously.
No matter how many re-writes of the Constitution Cheney orders, torture is illegal and unacceptable and is not a method of gathering and evaluating information that will ever be acceptable to the Intelligence community simply because it is irrelevant. Intelligence is collected from many sources. The likelihood that an individual would “crack” under torture and provide enough information to be valuable in and of itself is so remote as to be simply dismissed.
Most good bits of intelligence are themselves put together by analysts with hundreds or even thousands of other pieces of information to solve the puzzles that confront our strategic planners. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush…none of them…it is sad to say…have the brains of one good intelligence analyst. And these are the people who held your lives in their hands for 8 years. We are one damned lucky country to be alive.