Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Torture Doesn't Work.

In case you're one of the four or five people who haven't heard about Ron Suskind's new book, THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE, please allow me to introduce you. Not having met, you probably haven't heard this little tidbit, regarding the complex decisions after the capture of Abu Zubaydah, which I bring to you via Barton Gellman's review at the Washington Post:

Abu Zubaydah, his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be.

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President," Suskind writes.

"I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?"

Edited for fair use strictures - I urge you to check out the review.

So, you can guess what happened after that. They started torturing the crazy guy. After the death threats, the sleep deprivation, the waterboarding, the noise and lights, and the withholding of medication, he did what torture victims do to get it to stop.

He started making shit up.

He made shit up about attacks on shopping malls, banks, apartment complexes - does anything sound familiar? Because look what I found over at CBS News in a story about Jose Padilla:

It said Abu Zubaydah, a top al Qaeda lieutenant now in U.S. custody, also envisioned a uranium device when urging Padilla to mount a U.S. attack. At another point, however, the summary said Zubaydah told Padilla the dirty bomb was "not as easy to do as they thought."
Note that they leave out the whole "multiple personality, mentally ill, could barely be trusted with travel arrangements for the families, and was speaking under torture" part and went with "top al Qaeda lieutenant" instead. Guess that's just editing.

Physicists point out, for those of you with a California public-school education, that uranium is very nearly the worst choice for a dirty bomb, the worst being lead. So, Abu also made shit up that may have helped to keep an American citizen imprisoned without due process.

All to "save face" for ol' Chimpy McFlightsuit.

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