Dick Cheney has been trying to tell us that torture works (okay, he still refuses to use the word “torture”, but in the interests of accuracy and clarity, I will substitute the word “torture” for any other euphemism they may utilize), that we gained valuable intelligence from its use, and that “it saved lives.” Did it, Dick? Did it really save lives? Or did it cost lives? American lives? Americans in uniform? Did your insistence on the use, and staunch defense, of a series of illegally-authorized interrogation techniques, which were based on methods known to elicit false confessions, actually end up getting one or more of our soldiers killed?
Thanks to the ACLU, we now know that Dick Cheney was lying through his gritting teeth when he said we received valuable intelligence through the use of torture, particularly in the case of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (also, and more conveniently, known as “KSM”.) He claimed that intel “saved lives.” Given Dick’s well-documented history of spreading falsehoods, I have every reason in the world to believe that not only was this statement a lie, it was actually the opposite of the truth. I have reason to believe that people died because of the information we gained through torture. And the reason is a very simple one. KSM himself said, in his statement at his “Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing” (Pg 15):
I ah cannot remember now…I be under questioning so-many statement which been some them l make up stories just location UBL. Where is he? I don’t know. Then he torture me. Then I said yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaida which I don’t him. I said no, they torture me. Does he know you? I say don’t him but how come he know you. I told him I’m senior man.
Did you see that? To make the torture stop, KSM would “make up stories” about bin Laden’s location. Now, what would be the natural response to gaining such “valuable information”? You would have no choice but to check it out. How could you not, unless you already knew that anything he said was worthless, in which case why torture him at all? So, to make the charade work, you send soldiers out to check out the story. Except that KSM was making it up. The information he gave them about bin Laden’s whereabouts was bogus, no good, useless. What did the soldiers find when they got there? If every time they checked out a story they found, not only no UBL, but no enemy action of any kind, would they continue to send soldiers to check out the information KSM was giving them? If they encountered resistance, but no UBL, they might at least believe that UBL moved on from that spot. So it stands to reason that in the course of checking out at least some of KSM’s “leads”, at least a few soldiers got into gun battles with the enemy. Did any of them die in the pursuit of this useless information? Did the use of torture cost us even one American soldier’s life? Will we ever know?