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Evil for No Reason

The Senate Intelligence committee finally released their report (10 years late) about the use of torture (the CIA called it “harsh interrogation”) after 9/11 and even though it was heavily redacted, it confirms what this blog and many others said at the time. It didn’t provide us with any information we couldn’t have gotten by other (legal) methods. It didn’t prevent any terrorist attacks (there was no “ticking time bomb” information). And it produced floods of “fabricated” information because people being tortured will just make shit up in order to appease their torturers.

And not only that, but it shows that the CIA lied to us about the harshness of the techniques. What was done would be considered torture by any reasonable person, and thus should be considered war crimes. Prisoners actually died from the torture.

Even people inside the CIA knew that the program was a train wreck. According to their own people, the CIA bungled the job of interrogating Al Qaeda suspects and then lied about the results. Internally, CIA officers regularly questioned whether the use of harsh methods (torture) was producing accurate intelligence, but higher-ups ordered that the techniques continue and told Congress, the White House, and journalists that they were having great success.

And finally, the use of torture hurt us more than it helped us, as it became an effective recruiting tool for terrorists and deeply hurt our country’s standing in the world. We became a monster and we will pay the price. Imagine what we would have done if any other country had committed such crimes against us.

You can read the whole report here. Although it is very long and detailed, and just reading a few pages selected at random made me ill.

UPDATE: The link in the last paragraph to the Senate report doesn’t seem to work any more. You can find it on the same website at There is also a copy of the report at this alternative site:



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Republican Sen. John McCain broke with members of his party Tuesday, lauding the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture and decrying the use of torture as having “stained our national honor” and doing “much harm and little practical good.”

    I think that about says it all. If we can’t trust the 1 guy in the Senate who actually knows about torture then who can you trust. Everyone else IMO is just nonsensical noise.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    We don’t have to imagine: “According to Japanese records, 5,700 Japanese individuals were indicted for Class B and Class C war crimes. Of this number, 984 were initially condemned to death; 475 received life sentences; 2,944 were given more limited prison terms; 1,018 were acquitted; and 279 were never brought to trial or not sentenced.” Carrying out torture, even if ordered by superiors, fits under Class B.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    You know, sometimes I just really admire McCain (while other times he does shit that drives me crazy). Good for him for what he said. I’m glad this is not just a partisan issue.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  4. westomoon wrote:

    I remember reading in the Washington Post, sometime during Bush’s first term, that CIA employees had been taking out professional liability insurance at their own expense — something unheard of in government, where employees doing their jobs can’t be sued for their actions.

    I’m a retired Federal bureaucrat, and I know how cheap people who work in the national-security side of government are — voluntary out-of-pocket expenditures like this really caught my attention.

    Within the year, the CIA found a way to pay, first part, then all, of those insurance premiums — an expenditure of public funds that had previously been prohibited. That’s when I knew the agency had gone seriously off the rails. Now we all know just how far they went. No wonder the CIA was threatening the Senate committee a few months ago!

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  5. TJ wrote:

    IK – This IS a partisan issue and John McCain is not proof otherwise. The only reason John McCain is so vocal on this topic is his history. If he had a gay daughter he’d be standing right next to Dick Cheney in favor of marriage equality. Republicans seem to be unable to experience empathy in any way unless it directly affects them.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink
  6. wildwood wrote:

    I have a friend who’s son was career Army and trained others in interrogation methods. Whether he had experience in doing it, I don’t know, but I suspect he did. I’ve known her for 30 years and he was in every hot spot during that time period. I asked her once if she worried about him and she said not too much because his job always kept him way behind any danger areas. He has since retired, but until a few months ago was somewhere in the Middle East as a contractor. So I suspect at some point the military will come into play with this as well as the CIA. And if not, they probably should be.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  7. Jon wrote:

    Osama bin Laden believed his cause to be a just one, also, as I’m sure do all the ISIS/ISIL volunteers. And, yes, it is the same thing; the same thing exactly. It is believing in a cause AND believing that the ends justify the means.

    When we make the decision not to be ruled by the normal laws of civilized people, then we less than civilized and civilization in fact ceases to exist.

    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink