Saturday, May 16, 2009

Confirmation bias

Perhaps the most despicable use of torture, next to breaking a man for the sheer sadistic desire to do it, is to torture a prisoner until he gives the answer you're looking for.

Note: Distinct from this Bushist bullshit, Lawrence Wilkerson is willing to put his name and reputation behind his statements.


globeisatrocious said...

I thought torture gave what you wanted to hear. I guess it doesn't work? or it gives the truth? so very confused. (Cut and pasted from what a 'friend' told me:)

The assertion is that U.S. officials waterboarded in order to get detainees to confess to an al Qaeda-Iraq connection. Well, officials sure got a lot of extraneous information out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while trying to do this: He copped to masterminding the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, 9/11, the Bali nightclub bombing, and Richard Reid’s failed attempt to blow up a commercial passenger plane in flight. But nothing on Iraq.

The same is true of the other two waterboarded detainees. Abu Zubaydah yielded less. He gave up Jose Padilla’s identity and information that may or may not have led to the capture of KSM. Yet, no Iraq smoking gun. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri revealed his involvement in the Cole bombing, but nothing to justify the toppling of Saddam.

What a terrible record for a procedure that’s notorious for getting people to say whatever you want to hear. All that water and not one false confession to shut up the war critics. But, then, what a waste of energy it was in the first place for an administration that supposedly didn’t worry about finding evidence to corroborate its assertions. I mean, I thought if George W. Bush and Dick Cheney wanted to get something done they simply lied, right?

It’s all very confusing. I’ll have to wait until Josh Marshall figures it out and Maureen Dowd does a cut-and-paste job in the New York Times.

lovable liberal said...

Somehow you manage to be right all the time, yet less right than a stopped clock.

lovable liberal said...

Since everybody breaks if they don't die, I'd bet they gave the answers their torturers wanted to hear but they failed to give up any people or information that was usable for the simple reason that they didn't have any. Even the Bushists weren't going to parade their torture victims before a press conference to attest to the nonexistent alliance of secular Iraq and fundie al Qaeda. They were probably going to look for some matching facts that they could drum up into yet another falsified case for war, this one post hoc.