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Monday, December 20, 2004

Andrew Sullivan: Blind Pig

The release of the ACLU documents linking the President with the use of torture in Iraq (see below) should be the lead story on every network...but it won't be. People living in an us-or-them worldview will probably applaud the President for his actions. The presumption is that since THEY use torture, WE should too. This argument only works if torture actually turns out to be an effective method of interrogation. So...while we're on the subject...proving that even a blind pig can find a turnip every now and again...Sullivan had this to say about torture:

There is little evidence to suggest that the torture used by U.S. forces has in any way helped our intelligence efforts. In fact, it may well have proven counter-productive, as experience has shown. Tortured inmates tell you whatever can get them out of torture. They don't often give you really helpful intelligence. Secondly, this is indeed a different kind of war. The critical element in defeating an inurgency is winning over the civilan population that can give insurgents cover and support. But stories of brutality - in Saddam's own slaughter-house no less - and the use of mass round-ups of innocent civilians, the taking hostage of relatives of suspected insurgents and everyday brutality actually hurts your cause and undermines the war. That's why armies try to rein it in. The case against abuse and torture is not just a moral case; it's a practical case. It's helping the enemy. And it is destroying the moral high-ground which we are fighting to defend.

Okay, Sullivan can figure this out. What's wrong with the rest of America?