For the past three years we’ve been screaming at the Bush Administration that torture is not an American ideal. We know that the information gleaned from torture is usually wrong or worthless, because the tortured person will say anything to make the pain stop.
However, that does not mean that torture doesn’t further the Bush Administration’s agenda…
(New York Times) The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.
The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.
…or what we used to call “shipping our prisoners to a barbaric foreign country for interrogation” where they can be tortured without the pesky intrusion of courts, lawyers, the ACLU, the Constitution, or American law.
During his time in Egyptian custody, Mr. Libi was among a group of what American officials have described as about 150 prisoners sent by the United States from one foreign country to another since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks for the purposes of interrogation. American officials including Ms. Rice have defended the practice, saying it draws on language and cultural expertise of American allies, particularly in the Middle East, and provides an important tool for interrogation. They have said that the United States carries out the renditions only after obtaining explicit assurances from the receiving countries that the prisoners will not be tortured.
OK, Egypt, we’re handing over to you a Muslim terrorism suspect. We know your government has been very torturous to other prisoners during interrogations. We know your state religion supports doing some pretty cruel things to blasphemers of the faith, like this terrorism suspect. So promise us you won’t torture him. Pinkie-swear on a stack of Korans!
In statements before the war, and without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then the secretary of state, and other officials repeatedly cited the information provided by Mr. Libi as “credible” evidence that Iraq was training Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons. Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.” …the Defense Intelligence Agency had identified Mr. Libi as a probable fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda involving illicit weapons.
Torture. It’s lousy for getting accurate information, but wonderful for lying your country into a war your want and stoking the enemy’s resistance once warfare begins.