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What people seem to forget is why torture was used, historically. Outside of individual sadists who wanted to do it, there were two main reasons. To send a message to the enemy (we're crazy, don't f*k with us), or to extract information. NOTE, however, that this is not extracting actionable intelligence. If not to get intelligence which reveals the enemy's plans, what information were they extracting? The information they wanted or needed to further their goals. It was used to force "confessions": to admit to using witchcraft, to being an enemy spy, or to break down the subject until they were willing to sign any document (for more complex "confessions".) This sort of information was usually given to the subject, so all they had to do was say "yes", or simply agree. Once that information was received, the torturers could give that information to their political masters, who would use it to justify (among other things) going to war. Which is, of course, exactly why Governor Bush and Cheney's people wanted it justified, and made "legal". There was no real connection between alQaida and Iraq, but needed an excuse. Iraq was a war they "knew" they could win.
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2009 on Questions for Althouse at Obsidian Wings
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