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The Bush Administration’s swan song consists of a series of increasingly absurd claims designed to cover its crimes and failings. The most persistent of these is the claim that torture was necessary to save lives, and that attacks were in fact averted through the use of torture techniques. Vice President Cheney continued his crusade for torture yesterday insisting that torture is the “moral” thing to do (helping to explain the origins of Cheney’s Washington nickname, “vice”). Vanity Fair’s David Rose takes a look at the administration’s case for torture, and specifically its claims that torture averted attacks or at least produced actionable intelligence of some sort. He walks us through all the claims, one by one, and finds that they are all contradicted by the facts. Some of the sources did produce useful intelligence, but in no case was the application of torture the reason why, nor did it even contribute to the result. In the final lines of his article, he has this exchange with FBI director Robert Mueller:
I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been
disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?
“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”
Mueller is “reluctant to answer” because he knows that Cheney and other administration spokespersons have repeatedly made that claim. And he knows that it is a lie which has been advanced for a specific reason: to cloak their criminal conduct.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”