Time to Thank “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”

Alan W. Dowd writes on defense and security.


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The successes of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, the old saying goes, are never known and the failures are never forgotten. The takedown of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs, who were guided onto their target by the work of hundreds of intelligence officers around the world, is a welcome exception to this rule. In a similar way, the successful strike on bin Laden forces us to take a fresh look at the notion that enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) are not useful or effective. If recent comments from high-level officials are any indication, EITs played an important part in the hunt for and elimination of the terror mastermind.

Ever since 9/11, the CIA has been pounded for not “connecting the dots.” The “dots” in the world of intelligence-gathering can be anything—individuals, places, times, targets, dates, fragments of messages, inscrutable codes—but they mean nothing to policymakers unless or until an intelligence analyst can draw a line from one dot to another and thereby paint at least part of a picture.

That connecting line is crucial. And in the case of taking down bin Laden, that connecting line was apparently provided by sources that were subjected to EITs, according to an NBC interview of CIA director Leon Panetta.

The most likely source to provide what NBC calls “the thread of information” about bin Laden’s trusted courier was Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), who masterminded the 9/11 attacks.

According to the Associated Press, KSM, while being held in a CIA prison somewhere in Eastern Europe, divulged nicknames of key bin Laden aides and couriers. Although he had been subjected to water-boarding, or simulated drowning, several times prior to divulging the names, KSM turned over these fragments of info long after agents had stopped using the technique. Obama administration officials concede, however, that “U.S. intelligence did not learn the identity of the courier until after the CIA interrogation program was terminated,” Reuters reports. In other words, it is possible fear of another round of water-boarding had an impact on KSM.

“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer, told AP.

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  • proxywar

    “intelligence garnered from water-boarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and kill him,”

    He said it came from detainees that were waterboarded not that waterboarding made them give it up. Big difference. They might of had a fear of being waterboarded again therefore they spilled the beans or they might not of had a fear of being waterboarded again and just said the name in passing and then when questioned about the name later totally denied it which lead to a suspicion they were on to something. We'll never really know unless we ask the detainees.

    • Chezwick_mac

      Absolutely. In other words, the water-boarding facilitated the initial willingness of these detainees to talk…hence, if we're being honest – everything that came out afterward can be directly attributable TO the water-boarding.

    • richard

      obviously waterboarding was the reason they talked.

  • Foolster41

    This is one of the few times I have to disagree with FPM. Whether torture/improved interrogation/water boarding works or not is irrelevant. what matters is, is this morally right? If not, we're reducing ourselves down to their level.

    • G Dub

      FLASH !
      AG Holder has released an audio training piece of O'Bozo's approved WIT ( Whussie Interrogation Techniques ). Here is a sound bite of WIT:
      "If you do not please tell us everything we would like to know about your companions-in-arms against our evil Capitalist regime, for you all day there will be NO Twinkies in your lunch box"
      Wow – that'l scare the camel dung out of their turbans !

      • kafir4life

        The real kicker that gets the information flowing is the threat to withhold whipped cream on their hot fudge sundaes.

      • Foolster41

        What's your point? Look, I don't disagree that Obama is soft (like the rest of the liberals) on terrorism (actually, kind of what their known for), but that doesn't mean there is a moral right to use torture, or it's acceptable. I'm not sure what your sarcastic post is even supposed to mean.

        Also, I'll add since I replied to some other people here, so it's more easily seen that I may be willing to concede that waterboarding is less than (thus not) torture. But I never said anything about waterboarding, but my comment was about torture in general, which I got the impression that the article was supporting (but then again, perhaps the article is only supporting waterboarding and I was wrong).

    • richard

      when you have in custody people who have commited terrorist acts and have info on future attacks you must up the ante. it's like saying in war, (which this is)…
      we cannot come down to the level of our enemy. blowing up, using flame throwers, hand to hand combat, (brutal that it is), and various other combat techniques. these things are no worse than waterboarding and are used by both sides. when you have a guy you know is a terrorist it is incredibly idiotic not to use whatever you have at your disposal to save lives. this gave them the info they would never have had otherwise, so there is a direct causal relationship, and that is the point. we are at war. this lets show the world how civilised we are is self defeating. it is a pointless excercise.

    • aharris

      You and I have a different idea of what torture really is then. To me, real is not something that people will willingly volunteer to undergo in order to prove a point. Real torture is not something that Hollywood that will ask its stuntmen to undergo and then film for realism to show us in movie and TV. Real torture is something that maims those who have undergone so that they can't raise their arms above the level of their shoulders or leaves hideous scars like the ones we see one muslim women who have had the tips of their noses cut off. Waterboarding is not something I would ever want to be forcibly subjected to and I have no dobts whatsoever that is extremely unpleasant and makes one panic, but at the end of the day, is it true torture on par with the rack or the iron maiden? I don't think so.

      • Foolster41

        You bring up a good point, and I may be willing to concede that worderboarding is a much lesser class, and thus maybe not so unacceptable to use.

    • Charles

      I don't understand your moral reasoning, Foolster. Are you really asserting that waterboarding (and avoid the tendentious discussions as to whether it is "torture" or not; it's clearly a frightening experience) is morally equivalent to killing hundreds and thousands of innocent people??? How do you reach that conclusion? To answer the question requires more than just asserting that it is so.

      • Foolster41

        No. I make no moral equivalence at all, but doing a lesser wrong is not justified by a greater wrong. Again, as I said elsewhere I might concede that water-boarding is not torture, and the article may be discussing only waterboarding, but I was only noting that saving lives does not justify doing wrong.

  • jim zinc

    Sickening, frankly I find it hard to thank Human Rights Violators for anything, the author of this article is sick.

    • G Dub

      Get Real Zinc.
      Imagine some turban head has your Wife and Children with machetes at their throats. Your only chance to save them is to bounce one of the bad guys around a room for a bit. Would you allow that ?
      We all have our point of getting the job done.
      The difference between you and me is that apparantly only one of us understands that True Evil needs an A$$ kicking.

      • jim zinc

        How convenient for the members of the former bush admistration: No Judge, No Jury and dead men tell no tales

    • jacob

      And you dare calling the scum OBAMA ordered called "Insurgents "HUMAN"
      and of course, expect as many bleeding hearts like you do, they will "spill the
      beans" out of the weight of their guilt or due to "persuasion" ??

      As an ex-cop, I can assure you less than 1% of criminals confess to their
      crimes, proven by the fact that prisons are full of "INNOCENTS", moreover
      these fanatics to whom their own life is not worth a damn ??

      GIVE ME A BREAK ! ! ! ! ! !

      • Tim

        I find it disturbing that you were at one point a person that was suppose to "serve and protect". I find it very comforting that you are no longer. If you hate them so much, than what makes you different from them. They hate us with a blind rage just like you. If you have no problem being associated with those that you deem unfit to be called "human". Than I have a problem with being associated with you and I would think that a good majority of the people that died on September 11th 2001 and in all other attacks on America before and since would too.

  • Chezwick_mac

    I disagree with Foolster41…and here's why:

    Water-boarding entails no actual dispensation of physical pain…it is purely a psychological weapon. This is a far cry from "reducing ourselves to their level"…to the level of men like Saddam who had his henchmen rape and torture the wives and children of his political opponents in their presence so as to break them.

    Sam Harris put it best. He wrote something to the effect that "[it's rather bizarre that air strikes on targets which may and often do inadvertently kill women and children...are morally acceptable to us, but water-boarding, which may psychologically terrify but does not in any way physically injure the recipient, is not.]"

    The bottom line is, are you willing to wage war on your enemies or not? If not, that's fine. Openly admit you're a pacifist…and try negotiating with an enemy WILLING to wage war.

    But if you are willing yourself, water-boarding is hardly more inhumane than the collateral killing of non-combatants. And for those whose response would be "the difference is, collateral deaths are unintended", my counter is, we are not bound by any law of physics to bomb a particular compound…we COULD abstain, and doing so over-and-over will be certain to spare the innocent. It will also fatally cripple your war effort.

    For myself, there is absolutely NO moral dilemma in making a terrorist feel "uncomfortable" for a few moments in order to extract actionable intelligence.

    • Foolster41

      You may be right, and on reflection perhaps water boarding is not quite the same as torture (though there is much disagreement about this), though I do think the use of torture needs to be examined closely to make sure we cross a line we shouldn't cross.

    • Tim

      United States Code Title 18 Chapter 118 Section 2441, Geneva Convention, Haque Convention. This method of simulated – but all too real – drowning was practiced during the Second World War by some Japanese officers against captured American pilots: the perpetrators were tried and executed as war criminals. The Bible, Matthew: 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Water boarding is an extremely traumatic and frighten experience. It can cause PTSD for both the person being interrogated and the person asked to carry out the interrogation. It is very easy to say that you would have no moral dilemma in doing this, but I have a question for you. If it was your mother you were going to be able to save, would you? The answer I am sure is yes, but than what do you say when she asks you how you were able to save her? Would you be able to live with what you did? or with the way should would look at you after that? Oh, and that would be if you were interrogating the right person. What if you got bad info and captured a innocent person. Would you believe them when they said they did not know anything?
      Believe what you want and do what you want, but make sure you look at the big picture before you act, or talk.

    • Tim

      Oh and here is a great quote about some real Americans
      "George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine all supported the fair and decent treatment of even our enemies. Both the Redcoats and Hessian mercenaries were treated with decency and respect. Our Founding Fathers did this even though more American soldiers died as prisoners than died on the field of battle. They knew that American ideals meant something, and that fair and decent treatment was not only the right thing to do but the practical thing to do (many Hessian mercenaries stayed here and became loyal American citizens, for instance). Surely we can learn something from the wisdom of our Founding Fathers."

  • Fred Dawes

    I can get all the info you want, put the person in a room, take his family and place the family in the room with him or her, close the door to the room come back in one hr.

    ( : – )

  • Steve Chavez

    WAS KSM TOLD ABOUT OSAMA? If so, what was his, and other Gitmo detainees, reaction?

    Were bullets pulled from Osama's body and if so, who has them? It would seem logical that they were removed unless they went right through him.

    Don't you think sailors took photos of themselves with Osama, or just Osama, but have to wait to dock to copyright them and then sell them to the highest bidder?

    What's the real spelling of Osama/Usama and is the Osama spelling being changed since it is so close to Obama including its pronunciation?

    We also need to play nicey with them so they can play nicely with us! LOL!

    • Amused

      Boy , you're one hurtin' cowboy Chavez . Get counseling as soon as you can .

  • StephenD

    Panetta says, “intelligence garnered from water-boarded detainees was used to track down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and kill him,”
    Yet the administration will NOT STOP pursuing prosecution of the CIA Officers that engaged in Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. When asked by 9/11 Victims family members to drop this the POTUS said he would not drop it and turn his back to this mother. What a guy! What a Leader!!

  • BS77

    anyone who calls waterboarding "torture" does not know what torture is. Water boarding is extremely unpleasant, true, but it's far from burning, beating etc etc. Anyway, now that OBL is shark chum…..can we please get the job finished and put KSM before a tribunal and send him off to join OBL???? Remember 9/11. FDNY, your sacrifices will not be forgotten.

    • Tim

      and not Honored apparently. The selfless attitude of the New York Fire and Police Departments along with many other individuals does not mix with the filth coming from your keyboard.

  • Jim_C

    I can't say that any part of me feels bad for a waterboarded terrorist. I have mixed feeling about assassinations–but one can't argue they are certainly effective.

    The problem is this: the CIA (or whomever) may torture someone–but I don't want to know about it.

    The ONLY reason I know about it is probably because there are those in the intelligence community who thinks it's wrong, wrong enough that they'll risk leaking info about it. That's pretty serious. Many people who have been waterboarded–SERE trainees–will say it IS torture. And many who are professional interrogators claim it doesn't work.

    I have to at least take those claims seriously because they directly reflect on my nation's ideals. Of course, if these things WORK–as in, they produce info that saves lives–yeah, I'm for it. But don't be for it just because it provides you some sort of emotional satisfaction.

  • waterwillows

    If certain schools or malls in a state were wired for bombing but no one knew which ones, except the culprit you have in hand, but won't talk and demands a lawyer.
    The thing is, one must do what one must do. No one wanted that hand dealt to them, but they got it and it must be played out. Ultimately the culprit is responsible.
    The big difference is that American do not enjoy inflicting suffering on people. This is a crutical element. Whereas our enemies very much enjoy the torture, beheadings and will celebrate in the streets for inflicting suffering.
    No one ever said war was fun or that there would be no misery. But war is what we have.
    So we deal with it as best as is possible given the circimstances.
    The looney left are death choosers and have not an acceptable understanding of survival. They are unfit to lead anything.

    • Amused

      "the loony left are death choosers ….unfit to lead anything " / so says waterwillows .
      Brilliant 4th grade parroted partisan rhetoric . And who are the left ? LOL…anyone who in anyway disagrees with the right .

      • waterwillows

        I have no idea why a lack of understanding or insight amuses you. Take the time to find out about who is who. One's life depends on it.

        • Amused

          You are correct , YOUR lack of understanding "amuses " me , so much so that I can not help but to comment …….and laugh .

          • waterwillows

            hmmmmm………….but, I am not the one who is asking "who is the left?"

          • Amused

            Of course not , you "know " who the left is , and you "Know" whom to call the enemy . That's what makes your statements so ludicrous .
            BTW , the question was rhetorical , or didn't you get that ? LOL….of course you didn't .

          • Amused

            BTW , waterwillows , read the post below by chip thornton , he quotes Mark Twain I believe …..it applies to you .

          • waterwillows

            Yes, I do know. Nothing so hard about that, as the Lord has pointed it out to me.
            If you took the time to read the Scriptures, you would find out exactly all about knowing for yourself and would not bother to pick at me for your lack of knowledge.
            BTW, I already know that I am not a very good writer. But I do get to enjoy the blogs of those with the skill. So that is some compensation for me.

  • CHIP THORNTON

    There is no better example than the authors commentary (not to mention lack of perception) of the old phrase "Those who don't know are talking: Those who do are not."

    C Thornton

  • debarrio

    NO. Time to call out the rank hypocricy of the left for accusing Bush of war crimes for waterboarding, but then murdering OBL in cold blood. OBL was NOT brought to justice. He was hunted down and executed like a dog. Did he deserves it? Is that for Obama to decide? Who's next on his list. We now know that Obama is a cold blooded assasin, and the left needs to be called out on this! Wake up you idiots!

    • Jim_C

      You're next! Obama's coming to get you, debarrio! Quick: impeach him!

    • Amused

      Cold blooded assasin ? You're an idiot .Did Bin Laden deseve it ? YOU BETCHA ! Hunted down like a dog and executed ,EXACTLY. And YEA , he DESERVED IT .

  • Questions

    Bond….James Bond. If you can enjoy Agent 007's unorthodox tactics in a movie, you'll enjoy them in real life. With madmen, there are no alternatives but victory.

  • SAM000

    In a war, you have all the rights to use your arms, if you don't use your arms, you are not engaged 100 percent in your war, and you are not serious.

    But, torturing, in a modern and democrat society is a tool in the hands of the most criminal individuals to commit these kind of despicable acts against the same society.

    When I asked your intelligence people why they didn't reacted about the huge amount of intelligence that they gathered from the people who brought those intelligence to CIA?
    I heard from your own CIA people saying that, "we don't trust those intelligence, because we have tortured more than 4 thousands and we got nothing).

    The intelligence technicians will say you that, there are the technical and scientific methods to achieve and the torture is abject.
    The responsible who orders the torture, and the executioner who commits the torture should be judged as Criminals.

    If you the Americans tolerate the torture, what is the difference between you and Ahmadinejad and his thugs, they rape and cut on slice the small kids in front of their parents to force them to denounce the others, and they have the same arguments as you do.

  • http://www.fx-exchange.com/ Bowmanave

    I guess what it all boils down to is that nobody in the Media, or Politicians especially, talk straight anymore. This is what we get when a bunch of Attorneys are holding elected office. Remember, "oral sex is not sex"? I always wondered if Hillary went for that line or not!

  • Amused

    I agree SAM000 , I think we should simply cut their heads off and be done with them . Just like they do …you know… we got he same argument.

    • SAM000

      Amused;
      If you want to stop a bombing, you need to use all the methods to stop it, If you have the right terrorist and you know that he knows how to stop it, the wordings of torture is not matched and you don't care what the people will say, first, you extract the intelligence and you stop the bomb, and then, answer only and only to your own conscience.

      But, this case is extremely reduced, I'm talking about the generalized torture, when you admit the torture, you create the executioner,

      Look at Iraq, you have liberated the country, but, just now, there are 30,000 prisoners under permanent torture in the Iraqi jails, Your US administration is not even able to denounce it, why?, because some very few stupid individuals have played torturer in AbouGharib.

      I know that US Army officers are the honorable services men, but their reputation is stained and they even can not fight publicly the systematic torture of the Iraqi administration.

      Ahmadinejad and the Islamists practice the torture systematically on their prisoners and they say that they want to extract the information.

      Amused;
      You are American
      I'm Iranian, I'm extremely lucky, my two brothers and one sister were killed in the combat against the Mullahs.
      I'm very sad, my mother was jailed 7 years in EVIN PRISON, she never talked about herself, she talked about the kids, the mothers, and she dead, not because of all the tortures that she had, she dead because of her audio visual memories.

      Osama or his alike should be bombed to death, extracting the intelligence from alqaida terrorists is an act of defense, but when your own stupid guys catalog it as torture, they institutionalize the torture.

  • Amused

    Sam000 we may be in agreement . The issue of torture in the US , is under debate .Most people on this blog would have you think , that it is just the Democrats who are against it .This is not true , the debate is raised in both parties .For the sake of critical information , to prevent future attacks , to save lives and to destroy Al Queda , I am in favor of waterboarding . Get the info , Then cut their heads off .

    • SAM000

      If I'm sure that the individual who is on my access has the information to stop a disaster and he don't want to divulge it, waterboarding or any other method, I'll apply to him, and I will not care if it's legal or illegal.

      To save the lives, you have all the rights to ACT without putting the lives of the non involved in danger, this is a human and moral right, if you do not react, and you hide yourself behind legal barrage, this is also abject, and maybe more than torture.

      I don't mix the extreme situation and systematic torture.

      But, to leave the door open, will produce the side effects non negligible.

      In Afganistan and Iraq US MP had arrested several groups who were kidnapping the poor guys and torturing them to death, when those torturers were interrogated, they said that, "we wanted to extract the key intelligence about the incoming bomb attacks and sell it to our army", Pentagon denied any contact with those groups who were operating under the label of the security companies.

      This is a small example to understand that tolerating or trivializing the torture in a free and democratic country like USA can produce the executioners like those individuals.

      You would imagine what they can do when they return at home.
      if they have a minimum of misunderstanding with a neighbor or a colleague, even a member of their own family!!

      Democrat or Republican, no matter, torture is an act criminal and should never be allowed, a torturer should be treated as an murderer.

  • AbsolutelyRight

    "Enhanced interrogation," which does not cause permanent injury or damage (physically or psychologically) and conducted on non- citizens, under controlled conditions during war on enemy combatants is not "torture" legally or morally.
    Furthermore, it still has not been found to be "illegal," although Obama stopped using these techniques and has put his own "Torquemada", Eric Holder, to prosecute patriotic people in Bush admin, CIA agents, lawyers who Ok'ed the procedures. Ridiculous.
    Finally, when the left can't win on the moral argument, they over-reach and say its not effective. Anybody with common sense knows, that threats of force are going to yield some useful information and garner cooperation. Of course, people being "tortured" might confess to false accusations or lie..but that's not all we are talking about. Mark Thessin, said during water-boarding they asked questions they knew answers to of belligerent combatants. What it actually did was wear them down, until finally they were ready to "talk." Yielding useful information that would not have been otherwise obtained. The average American understands this. Over-educated self righteous metrosexuals don't want to because they are too civilized ever to punch back or stoop to what they perceive to be their uncivilized opponents level.
    The irony, is there is a responsible moral argument against "enhanced interogation" and thoughtful people should be wary of where it bleeds into actual torture and can be misused, but what the left does by its righteous indignation and insisting "it never works" and banning it is immoral itself, because when our govt can get information that saves innocent American lives through these techniques and doesn't do it, not only is it not doing its job, but it is acting immorally

  • carlosincal

    Remember the torture scene from Dirty Harry? A girl had been buried alive and Harry wanted information. Imagine a situation where that's your daughter or wife and then ask yourself what you would do to get the information. If you wouldn't do whatever it takes to save her life …. what does that say about you?

    • Foolster41

      Two wrong don't make a right, and whether lives are at stake or not does not give the morale right to do something wrong. As I said, that would be sinking to their level and show we are no better. Waterboarding may very well be outside the bounds of torture, and that should be of course examined and discussed, but using pleas to emotion is not logical, or helpful.

      Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be strong on terrorism and making sure scumbags are punished for their crimes, and that we shouldn't examine carefully the motives and use every acceptable technique such as examining Islam, and using religious profiling (i.e. looking carefully at Muslims since they are far more likely to commit terror, which frankly seems a no-brainer but is much too hard for our PCBS -tainted military and police force).

  • waterwillows

    I think when someone is about to commit mass murder, it is nothing more than misplaced gross pity to be 'feeling' for the perp.
    So where is this 'feeling' for the hundreds or thousands about to be slaughtered? I do not accept the false rightenousness of the death choosers, as it has become apparent to just about everyone that their deepest desire is all about their own shallow glory.
    One does not 'have the right' to be full of one's own 'noble' high ground, when your fellow man has his life on the line. It is plain old false lies and deception practiced on oneself.

  • Olivia

    You guys that say waterboarding didn't help crack these TERRORISTS are crazy. Let's just use this hypothetical. Suppose you are captured by your enemy. Suppose you are protecting the ONE person you love and respect the most in this world. You have been trained how NOT to crack if you fall into enemy hands. Are you going to give up information that would lead to that person's capture/death? Are you going to give it up if you're just simply asked to give it up? (Remember, you have gone through training. You're not just a normal blow joe off the street) I'm not trained and there would be no way I gave up the name of say my parents. The ONLY way they were going to get that information was through enhanced methods. Period. Anyone that thinks otherwise is delusional.

  • olivia

    To say it doesn't go along with our value system…well if you are going to say that….going in and shooting someone unarmed in the head doesn't go along with our value system EITHER. If you're going to be critical, let's be fair. Me?? I belive it was perfectly fine to shoot him in the head. Just like I believe it was ok to pour water down someone's throat, especially if I thought it was going to HELP SAVE AMERICAN LIVES! And it did. NO DOUBT!!

  • tagalog

    I'm in favor of waterboarding just like I'm in favor of abortion in cases of rape or incest. Some things just should be done, or allowed.

  • http://www.dcpracticetools.com Michael

    Why should we assume EIT's include tortur? One can be interrogated with being tortured.

  • tagalog

    If there's time, one effective non-torturing way to obtain information is just to deny sleep to the detainee. I think the record for staying awake is about 11 days and some kid of college age accomplished that.

    If you could keep me awake for 11 days I'd tell you anything just so you'd let me sleep.

    Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago: "there is the method of simply compelling a prisoner to stand there. This can be arranged so that the accused stands only while being interrogated-because that, too, exhausts and breaks a person down. It can be set up in another way-so that the prisoner sits down during interrogation but is forced to stand up between interrogations. (A watch is set over him, and the guards see to it that he doesn't lean against the wall, and if he goes to sleep and falls over he is given a kick and straightened up.) Sometimes even one day of standing is enough to deprive a person of all his strength and to force him to testify to anything at all."

  • biggershovel

    Why are people assuming that waterboarding is a form of torture? It seems to me that since military personnel have sometimes received waterboarding as part of their training that the American people were brainwashed by the pro-Marxist American media into believing it to be torture through the repeated claim tha tit was torture (which they never even attempted to prove). In fact, when the Bush adminisitration was using waterboarding on KSM and co. it was neither illegal nor considered torture.

    Waterboarding received its bad reputation only AFTER the media started publicizing the Bush administration's use of it. What a coincidence!

    • tagalog

      The first time waterboarding received a bad rap was during the Vietnam War. Somebody photographed a South Vietnamese Army interrogator waterboarding a Viet Cong guy. There was a bit of an uproar over that. When the war on terror got underway, and waterboarding became an issue, the earlier revulsion arose too.

  • The Logisitician

    Although we neither have first-hand experience nor research to support this notion, we strongly suspect that since time immemorial, certain forces of EVERY state have used tactics which clearly constituted torture (no matter how defined) and shocked the conscience, although many (for various reasons) have chosen not to do so openly.

    However, that we live in a society capable of public introspection may be just good enough, for now, especially with other issues on our plate.

    It’s what helps form the “collective conscience” that all societies need, but do not have.