Torture REDUCES, rather than protects, American national security:
- The head of all U.S. intelligence said:
“The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world,” [Director of National Intelligence Dennis] Blair said in the statement. “The damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”
- One of the top military interrogators said that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place (and see this).
- Former counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke says that America’s indefinite detention without trial and abuse of prisoners is a leading Al Qaeda recruiting tool
- A former FBI interrogator — who interrogated Al Qaeda suspects — says categorically that torture actually turns people into terrorists
- A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:
“This is not just because the old hands overwhelmingly believe that torture doesn’t work — it doesn’t — but also because they know that torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.”
- A former US Air Force interrogator said that torture just creates more terrorists
- A former U.S. interrogator and counterintelligence agent, and Afghanistan veteran said, “Torture puts our troops in danger, torture makes our troops less safe, torture creates terrorists. It’s used so widely as a propaganda tool now in Afghanistan. All too often, detainees have pamphlets on them, depicting what happened at Guantanamo.”
- The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously stated:
“The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies … strengthened the hand of our enemies.”
- Two professors of political science have demonstrated that torture increases, rather than decreases, terrorism
- The reporter who broke Iran-Contra and other stories says that torture actually helped Al Qaeda, by giving false leads to the U.S. which diverted its military, intelligence and economic resources into wild goose chases
- Raw Story says that torture might have resulted in false terror alerts
- Hundreds of other experts have said the same things
As Andrew Sullivan writes:
We have expended enormous resources in fighting threats that are not there, while failing to expend the necessary resources and time to figure out accurately what exact threats we do face. When you hear of the intelligence extracted by torture, remember that it was the intelligence that “proved” that Saddam and WMDs and links to al Qaeda.
Guess what one of the major causes of the economic crisis was? According to a Nobel prize-winning economist, the head of JP Morgan and others, the Iraq war and the war on terror in general were huge factors in destroying our economy.
The Senate Armed Services Committee concluded that creating a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq was one of the main purposes of the torture program. And the fake connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq was – in fact – one of the main justifications for the Iraq war.
So it is indisputable that torture has reduced our national security in numerous ways.
Indeed, I would argue that failing to prosecute those who ordered torture harms our national security.