Experts say torture doesn’t work

The "aggressive" interrogation techniques that the Bush administration advocates for use on terror suspects is coming under fire from experts who call the practice "outmoded, amateurish and unreliable."

Even members of the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, have begun to question the use of torture to gain information from suspects.

But President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continue to push use of such techniques, calling them a "valuable tool" in the so-called war on terror.

But support for use of torture, once a given on Capitol Hill, is beginning to wane.

Report Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times:

As the Bush administration completes secret new rules governing interrogations, a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.

The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.

While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods — possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda — are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices.

Some of the study participants argue that interrogation should be restructured using lessons from many fields, including the tricks of veteran homicide detectives, the persuasive techniques of sophisticated marketing and models from American history.

The science board critique comes as ethical concerns about harsh interrogations are being voiced by current and former government officials. The top commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, sent a letter to troops this month warning that “expedient methods” using force violated American values.

In a blistering lecture delivered last month, a former adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called “immoral” some interrogation tactics used by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon.

But in meetings with intelligence officials and in a 325-page initial report completed in December, the researchers have pressed a more practical critique: there is little evidence, they say, that harsh methods produce the best intelligence.

Comments

  1. Paolo

    Exactly. If a politician wouldn’t want it done to their own child as punishment, then we shouldn’t do it.

    And isn’t it scary that all the Republican candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul) stood up and loudly supported “enhanced interrogation techniques”? (That is, torture).

    What a sick bunch of perverts.

  2. SEAL

    Surely you people don’t think that our using torture on prisoners just started with the Bush administration? We always have. In all they ways they are now admitting and more. It was something no one ever talked about. But, for some reason, somebody decided to expose it. I guess their desire to “get Bush” overrode their good judgment.

    Now, the best kept secret that wasn’t a secret is world wide knowledge and we are no better than the next guy. Releasing the fact that we tortute our prisoners was bad enough but Dumbhead, in his arrogance, had to go and make it leagal i.e., the official policy of America.

    This, along with most everything else Bushco has done, has diminished America’s stature in the minds of people around the world.