Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Gloves Don't Have to Come Off

Abuse Has No Place in Interrogation Policy, commentary by Steven Kleinman and Haviland Smith

The commentary from Kleinman and Smith clearly states that our torture policy has failed, and that it makes no sense. What has been ignored by the news media, for too long, is that many in fields of intelligence, law enforcement, and security have decried the current administration's move to tougher, coercive methods for extracting information from our enemies. If the point is to get good, actionable intelligence to defeat those who brought acts of terror beyond our doorstep, then you're defeating yourself by ignoring our experience in obtaining it. Those who have participated to fighting crime, foreign intelligence services, and a cold war,  know too well the pertinent point so succinctly stated in the commentary piece:

"Misinformation and disinformation are logical, often dangerous outcomes of coercive techniques."

Even a cold warrior, the former Director of CIA, William Colby, admitted that torture (as a intelligence gathering tool) doesn't work. And, he was part of the Phoenix Program used in Vietnam. What works on TV (like 24--a favorite show of mine, btw), doesn't produce the same positive results in real life. Ignoring that fact is simply the byproduct of fear and/or hubris. Worst, it destroys who we are as Americans--an asset that we've used to draw (people and intelligence) from others around the world. It's too easy for Bush and (the real culprit) Cheney, to say we need this to prevent future attacks. It doesn't work for us, on an intelligence or ethical level. It does not weaken us if we deploy a strategy that uses successful tactics that have proven their worth for decades. It has been our strength--substituting force for it weakens us. And, it was a mistake to do otherwise. Or, follow policies from someone who has gotten so much wrong.