We have all heard their claims, that former President George Bush is equally responsible for bringing down Osama Bin Laden as our current President, Barack Obama. And these Bush lovers credit the torturing and water-boarding of prisoners as the only pathway that led to Bin Laden.
Are they right? Is the Obama administration wrong for ending torture and abiding by the rules in the Geneva Convention – a treaty that America is a signatory to? A treaty that clearly states in Article 27;
Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall, at all times, be humanely treated, and shall be protected, especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.
If we listen to the likes of Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, we would be led to think that torture is the best thing since slice bread. But branch out a little and listen to others in the business of getting intelligence, and you’ll understand why torture or “enhanced interrogation,” loses its effect after a while.
Forbes today released an interview with a top United States interrogator in Afghanistan, who claimed that “torture played no role in locating Osama bin Laden.” According to the report, this interrogator refers to the support for torture made by former Bush administration officials as “propaganda [that] degrades our intelligence operations more than any other factor I can think of.”
“Listen, water-boarding and/or other coercive techniques did nothing to contribute to our attempts to track down UBL (Usama bin Laden). What did succeed was weeks, months and years of diligent, laborious, and dedicated work – all within the bounds of legal and ethical boundaries…No torture, no waterboarding, no coercion – nothing inhumane – is considered a useful tool in our work.
I cannot even count the amount of times that I personally have come face to face with detainees, who told me they were primarily motivated to do what they did, because of hearing that we committed torture. Even the rumor of torture is enough to convince an army of uneducated and illiterate, yet religiously motivated young boys to strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up while killing whoever happens to be around – police, soldiers, civilians, women, or children. Torture committed by Americans in the past continues to kill Americans today.”
But why would Cheney and Rice listen to anything an interrogator says? Torture was their policy. It had nothing to do with American exceptionalism, finding terrorists or saving the lives of American troops deployed abroad. It was their interrogation practice of choice.
Torture violates the very moral fabric of who we are as Americans and admitting it was wrong means their policies were wrong as well. And that is what it all boils down to… politics 101.