Charles Krauthammer claims that the current evidence that torture works is “fairly compelling.” Here is the evidence he provides:
(1) George Tenet said that the "enhanced interrogation" program alone yielded more information than everything gotten from "the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together.
Would that be the same George Tenet who claimed that the case for WMD in Iraq was a slam dunk? Would that be the same George Tenet who begged George Bush not to investigate the CIA’s failure to connect the dots prior to 911? Doesn’t Tenet’s assertion point to the overall shortcomings of America’s intelligence communications just as much as to the effectiveness of torture?
(2) Michael Hayden, CIA director after waterboarding had been discontinued, writes with former attorney general Michael Mukasey) that "as late as 2006 . . . fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al-Qaeda came from those interrogations."
Once again, doesn’t this point to the incompetence of the CIA if fulfilling its intelligence gathering mission? Do we really want to sanction torture merely to establish an enemy’s organizational chart?
(3) Even Dennis Blair, Obama's director of national intelligence, concurs that these interrogations yielded "high value information."
Isn’t “high value information” awfully vague? If this is the criteria, can we ever set any limits on when torture is permissible?
Surely we need something more compelling than this before we sell our national soul?