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John McCain: Neither Waterboarding Nor Any Other Form Of Torture Led To Bin Laden

Senator John McCain, who whatever you else might say about him has been consistent and forthright in his opposition to the use of waterboarding of and other forms of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the United States, and today, he’s out with twin broadsides that pretty much dismantle the arguments from former members of the Bush Administration and their apologists that the use of these techniques played a key role in finding Osama bin Laden, and that this fact somehow justifies their use.

In both a Washington Post Op-Ed and a speech today on the Senate floor, McCain completely dismantled the argument that torture led to Osama bin Laden:

 

“With so much misinformation being fed into such an essential public debate as this one, I asked the Director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta, for the facts. And I received the following information:

“The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. We did not first learn from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the real name of bin Laden’s courier, or his alias, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the man who ultimately enabled us to find bin Laden. The first mention of the name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, as well as a description of him as an important member of Al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country. The United States did not conduct this detainee’s interrogation, nor did we render him to that country for the purpose of interrogation. We did not learn Abu Ahmed’s real name or alias as a result of waterboarding or any ‘enhanced interrogation technique’ used on a detainee in U.S. custody. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts, or an accurate description of his role in Al-Qaeda.

“In fact, not only did the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married, and ceased his role as an Al-Qaeda facilitator — which was not true, as we now know. All we learned about Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti through the use of waterboarding and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the confirmation of the already known fact that the courier existed and used an alias.

“I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in Al-Qaeda and his true relationship to Osama bin Laden — was obtained through standard, non-coercive means, not through any ‘enhanced interrogation technique.’

“In short, it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement. It’s important that he do so because we are again engaged in this important debate, with much at stake for America’s security and reputation. Each side should make its own case, but do so without making up its own facts.

That was from today’s floor speech. In the Op-Ed, McCain went on to make the most important point about this debate:

As we debate how the United States can best influence the course of the Arab Spring, can’t we all agree that the most obvious thing we can do is stand as an example of a nation that holds an individual’s human rights as superior to the will of the majority or the wishes of government? Individuals might forfeit their life as punishment for breaking laws, but even then, as recognized in our Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, they are still entitled to respect for their basic human dignity, even if they have denied that respect to others.

All of these arguments have the force of right, but they are beside the most important point. Ultimately, this is more than a utilitarian debate. This is a moral debate. It is about who we are.

I don’t mourn the loss of any terrorist’s life. What I do mourn is what we lose when by official policy or official neglect we confuse or encourage those who fight this war for us to forget that best sense of ourselves. Through the violence, chaos and heartache of war, through deprivation and cruelty and loss, we are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.

I made a similar point last week, and the extent to which many on the right seem to have thrown the question of morality over the side in this debate is really quite disturbing, although it may not be surprising. The fact that something “works” (and the question of whether torture is a reliable method of intelligence gathering is something that doesn’t even to be worthy of debate on the right anymore) is irrelevant to the question of whether it’s right or wrong. There are a whole host of interrogation techniques we could undertake if we wanted to:

It may be theoretically possible that we could break a suspected terrorist by placing him a room with his child while a CIA operative put a loaded gun to the child’s head, threatening to kill them unless the suspect revealed what they knew. We could revive the medieval torture processes of the Inquisition. Those methods might even prove highly effective in getting a particularly difficult person to crack. That doesn’t mean we should do those things, however, and the fact that the debate has suddenly moved into “ends justify the means” territory should concern anyone who believes in the rule of law.

I’ve never been much of a McCain fan, but on this one issue, perhaps because of his own real life experiences, he’s been on the nose from the beginning. It’s unfortunate that the rest of his fellow Republicans seem so caught up in bloodlust that they either aren’t listening or don’t care.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Right, it’s only bloodlust that motivates those rascally Republicans. And CIA directors always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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  2. Hey Norm says:

    The Republicans are only about tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens, torture, and total control of all productive uteruses. Take away torture…heck…there’s not much left.

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  3. anjin-san says:

    A stand up moment for McCain, but I don’t think it will shut the torture cheerleaders up. Their shining city on the hill is not complete without a torture chamber in the basement.

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  4. There we go, torture cheerleaders. I was popping back in to half apologize for the snark, but what’s the point. It’s all angels or devils.

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  5. anjin-san says:

    Charles… if you are going to call Panetta, a man who has served this country long and well a liar, perhaps you will produce some evidence he is not an honorable person…

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  6. anjin-san says:

    charles, saying torture is unequivocally wrong does not make you an angel. it makes you an American.

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  7. jukeboxgrad says:

    Their shining city on the hill

    That reminds me of the president who signed the UN Convention on Torture: Reagan. Obviously a terrorist-loving Marxist.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2009/04/reagan-on-torture-prosecutions/202700/

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  8. Nikki says:

    In February 2008, McCain voted against a bill to curtail the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation methods. The bill passed the Senate, but was vetoed by President Bush.

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  9. jwest says:

    “… it’s only bloodlust that motivates those rascally Republicans.”

    Don’t forget the racism… and the greed… and Sarah Palin.

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  10. anjin-san, I’m not saying anything about Leon Panetta and his truthfullness. I am noting that every pronouncement from officialdom needs to be treated with skepticism. Nuance!

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  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    In February 2008, McCain voted against a bill to curtail the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation methods. The bill passed the Senate, but was vetoed by President Bush.

    Yes:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/20/mccain-torture-veto/

    McCain’s record on this subject is mixed.

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  12. Franklin says:

    Didn’t Rumsfeld say the same thing a couple weeks ago (that waterboarding/etc. did not lead to bin Laden)? Considering he was part of the administration that approved “enhanced” interrogation techniques, I think the case is getting a bit more solid.

    I agree with Mr. Charles Austin, though, that we need to keep some skepticism about anything anybody says, especially politicians.

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  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    charles austin:

    every pronouncement from officialdom needs to be treated with skepticism.

    Your “skepticism” is highly selective. Let me know if I need to show you examples of how you make statements that have no basis other than “pronouncement from officialdom” and nevertheless you treat them as if they are established facts.

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  14. Franklin says:

    My statement above about Rumsfeld is misleading.. Rumsfeld has said various different things in the past few weeks. He has said that waterboarding and EIT has helped with Al Qaeda intelligence in general, but specifically said it didn’t help find bin Laden.

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  15. jukeboxgrad says:

    An interesting analysis of what McCain said can be found in Wheeler’s post: “John McCain: KSM Lied Under Torture, Just Like I Did.”

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/05/12/john-mccain-ksm-lied-under-torture-just-like-i-did/

    She doesn’t go into detail about how McCain lied under torture, but that history is described here:

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/12/mccain_torture_washington_post/

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  16. Wiley Stoner says:

    If you truely believe waterboarding is torture, I would like to demonstrate something a bit more medieval. I wonder about those who worry about a little water down the nose but have no problem shooting an unarmed 54 year old man to death, without due process. What do I expect from hypocrites? Had Bush done this there would be many vocal calls for an immediate independent invesitigation. I guess some of you think they niced the information about the couriers from KSM. I hope most of those who oppose enhances interogation techniques are victims of the comming attack which would have been prevented by same.

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  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    I wonder about those who worry about a little water down the nose but have no problem shooting an unarmed 54 year old man to death, without due process.

    The rules that apply regarding how you must treat a prisoner are different from the rules regarding someone who isn’t a prisoner.

    Killing the enemy is the point of war. But once you capture him, you are obliged to treat him humanely.

    This is quite basic, the kind of stuff that’s taught to every member of our military pretty much on day one. No surprise that you can’t manage to grasp it.

    I guess some of you think they niced the information about the couriers from KSM.

    Try paying attention. McCain explained that KSM lied about the courier. This is what sane people (including McCain) have been saying all along: torture is a good way to get people to lie.

    If torture worked, OBL would have been captured by Bush in 2003, not Obama in 2011.

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  18. mantis says:

    I wonder about those who worry about a little water down the nose but have no problem shooting an unarmed 54 year old man to death, without due process. an extremely dangerous and well armed terrorist mastermind during a dangerous raid on his compound.

    FTFY. Keep crying for bin Laden, though. It’s highly amusing.

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  19. jukeboxgrad says:

    Keep crying for bin Laden

    Yup. Want to know what Hamas and Power Line have in common? They both say that the killing of bin Laden was “extrajudicial” (http://bit.ly/mQdNTR).

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  20. sam says:

    I can ask the question about Wiley (Zels) that I once asked about Eric (Bithead): How many times to do you think he’d need to be waterboarded before he screamed it was torture?

    And this is priceless

    “no problem shooting an unarmed 54 year old man to death, without due process”

    from the guy who was banned (and is fooling no one with his new mask) for, among other things, threatening folks with gun violence.

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  21. [...] More here. [...]

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  22. Tlaloc says:

    Senator John McCain, who whatever you else might say about him has been consistent and forthright in his opposition to the use of waterboarding of and other forms of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the United States

    Yes, he has. It’s more than a little nauseating to think that had McCain won we might have actually done a little better as far as civil rights issues than we have under Obama. My loathing for 2008 dem primary voters seems to grow every day.

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  23. Tlaloc says:

    I wonder about those who worry about a little water down the nose but have no problem shooting an unarmed 54 year old man to death, without due process. an extremely dangerous and well armed terrorist mastermind during a dangerous raid on his compound.

    Seriously? Extremely dangerous? You don;t find that more than a little bit of a stretch? SEALS had to shoot him or he would have whipped out some taliban kung fu?

    Come on. They killed him because they wanted to kill him (and quite possibly the order was simply to kill him).

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  24. Wiley Stoner says:

    Former Attorney General Michael Mukasy stated:Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand. It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information–including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.
    Who to believe?
    I guess the possiblity of the AG being somewhat closer to the incident than a Senator, I would place my money on the AG. Of course most here know he is lying.

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  25. Tlaloc says:

    Honestly if getting Osama ten years after 9/11 is the best the “treat terrorism like a war and torture helpless prisoners” crowd can do I think I’d rather take my chances with the other way. Better for my stomach. Also soul.

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  26. Tlaloc says:

    It’s one thing to accept evil in return for competence but you guys traded your souls for this?

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  27. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Obviously on this point McCain took too many blows to the head to be sentient.

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  28. ponce says:

    John McCain remind me why I used to think he was a decent guy.

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  29. sam says:

    @Tsar Nicholas

    “Obviously on this point McCain took too many blows to the head to be sentient.”

    You pussy. If he did take blows to the head, they were the result of his having been shot down over North Vietnam, in the service of his country, and tortured while in captivity for years. Do you have anything, anything, in your biography that can come close to matching the travail he went through serving his country? You wouldn’t make a pimple on his ass, you sniveling little shit.

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  30. An Interested Party says:

    Right, it’s only bloodlust that motivates those rascally Republicans.

    Perhaps fear is also a powerful motivator…

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  31. anjin-san says:

    Do you have anything, anything, in your biography that can come close to matching the travail he went through serving his country?

    He talks tough on a blog. Does that count? Wait, don’t answer. In wingnut country, of course it does.

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  32. jukeboxgrad says:

    wiley:

    I guess the possiblity of the AG being somewhat closer to the incident than a Senator, I would place my money on the AG.

    At the time of the waterboarding, Mukasey was a judge in New York City. He didn’t become AG until more than four years after the waterboarding ended. As usual, you have a lot of trouble getting your facts straight.

    Aside from that, how does an AG gain special knowledge about what’s happening inside the CIA? Are you under the impression that CIA is part of DOJ?

    And here’s a simple question: if waterboarding is so effective, why didn’t KSM tell us the courier’s real name? Maybe 183 times wasn’t enough, and if we had waterboarded him just one more time, that would have done the trick?

    What this story proves is that torture doesn’t work. Which is what sane people have been saying all along.

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  33. Hey Norm says:

    sam….
    he was a shitty pilot who did a newt and dumped his sick wife for a shiny new model and has spent his career as a more nuanced mitt – pandering to whatever group was necessary at any particular moment. but worst of all is that he was willing to put sarah palin a heartbeat from the most powerful chair in the world. everything before that can be excused. but not that.

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  34. G.A.Phillips says:
  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    That link is to a video from Whittle. Whittle is a liar. I proved that here:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/campaigning-like-its-2008/#comment-1400209

    His video that you cited is a collection of distortions and lies. He starts by saying this:

    George Bush didn’t claim mission accomplished.

    Whittle completely glosses over the fact that in his speech that day, Bush said this:

    In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

    How is that different in meaning from “mission accomplished?” It’s not.

    Whittle then proceeds to make a bunch of claims about KSM that are directly contrary to what McCain said. Who should we believe? A GOP senator or a guy named Whittle with a proven track record as a liar who doesn’t even bother saying where his information came from? Hmm, tough choice.

    Only a fool could take Whittle seriously.

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  36. An Interested Party says:

    Only a fool could take Whittle seriously.

    Well, it was G.A.Phillips who provided the link…

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  37. jukeboxgrad says:

    Maybe Phillips knows that Whittle is a liar and just wanted us to have a good laugh. Right, Phillips?

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  38. sam says:

    @Hey Norm

    sam….
    he was a shitty pilot…

    Hey, fvck you. He went in harm’s way for his country’s sake. And was captured and tortured as a result. For that reason he has my respect, and he should have yours. His politics are far, far from mine, but those differences are a separate matter, having no bearing on my appreciating his service and suffering for this country. As for his personal failings, can you look into your own heart and say with absolute assurance that your integrity is proof against such failings? Really?

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  39. Dan Rather says:

    TRANSCRIPT OF BRIAN WILLIAMS’ INTERVIEW WITH CIA DIRECTOR LEON PANETTA

    BRIAN WILLIAMS:
    Turned around the other way, are you denying that water boarding was, in part, among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

    LEON PANETTA:
    No, I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that, you know, the debate about whether– whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS:
    So finer point, one final time, enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years. That–

    LEON PANETTA:
    Right.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS:
    –in– includes water boarding?

    LEON PANETTA:
    That’s correct.

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  40. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    (1) McCain’s statement actually CONFIRMS that torture led to Bid Laden’s death. All he says is that the torture of US detainees didn’t provide the first clue. Rather, it was the torture of a detainee overseas that did. His cleverly (dishonestly) worded statement doesn’t really deny that the person rendered for interrogation was tortured — it only says that wasn’t the purpose for which he was rendered.

    (2) What McCain’s statement proves is that people are capable of dishonesty when they’re NOT tortured. So let’s supoena this serial-lying RINO, force him to waive his immunities, ask him whether the detainee who gave the first valuable information was tortured, and indict him for perjury if he lies.

    (3) McCain has no special understanding of the effects of torture. His single experience (which did cause him to renounce the USA) proves absolutely nothing. Did getting shot in the head make Gabby Giffords an expert on firearms? Is everyone who has a heart transplant an expert on heart surgery? Every child knows that if his arm is twisted he’ll eventually tell his older brother where he hid the candy. The very purpose of the Miranda rule is to exclude incriminating information (the location of the dead body or the loot) obtained by improper interrogation. The notion that torture never works is nonsense. If you believe it’s immoral regardless of its effectiveness, argue that; but lying about its effectiveness says more about the trustworthiness of what comes out of your mouth than that of a tortured terrorist.

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  41. Eric Florack says:

    bovine feces.
    What is this fascination with McCain, by the left?

    Why do people keep trying to label McCain as a conservative?

    Look, let’s make this simple:
    Bush (either one) by comparison, was at best a centrist… and McCain lost his presidential bids… both times… because he came down to the left of Bush.

    Ya know, maybe they keep running this play because it’s the only way they can push their agenda…. saying that a “Leading Conservative” backs their view?

    (spit)

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  42. hey norm says:

    sam…
    on a site where you are forbidden from saying “tea ba**ers” i’m guessing f*** you is a non-starter…but it’s not my call.
    so tell me – where do you stand on john kerry?

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  43. jukeboxgrad says:

    Dan Rather:

    TRANSCRIPT OF BRIAN WILLIAMS’ INTERVIEW WITH CIA DIRECTOR LEON PANETTA

    There’s no contradiction between what Panetta said and what McCain said.

    Being impressed by what was produced by torture in this case is like being impressed by a stopped clock because it’s right twice a day. What torture produced is not nil, but what’s more important is what it failed to produce. I explained this in more detail here.

    =================
    Northeast Elizabeth:

    The notion that torture never works is nonsense.

    It depends what you mean by “works.” No one ever said that torture couldn’t ever produce anything. Pay attention to what I said about the stopped clock.

    it was the torture of a detainee overseas that did. His cleverly (dishonestly) worded statement doesn’t really deny that the person rendered for interrogation was tortured — it only says that wasn’t the purpose for which he was rendered.

    Is your problem poor reading comprehension, or is it dishonesty? Probably both. What you’re saying McCain said isn’t what he said. He said this:

    The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

    First of all, “rendered for interrogation” is a figment of your imagination. Do you even know what “rendered” means? McCain said nothing about “rendered.” He said “held in another country.” Guess what: people held by the CIA overseas weren’t usually called “rendered.” They were called “held in another country.” The term “rendered” normally means we handed someone over to another government.

    And he does indeed “deny that the person … was tortured.” Which of the simple English words “who we believe was not tortured” do you have trouble understanding?

    It’s no surprise that people whose morality permits torture also have no problem making sh!t up.

    And speaking of simple things you don’t understand: by all accounts, KSM didn’t tell us the courier’s real name (this was admitted even by Rodriguez, the person who ran the CIA torture unit at the time). We only learned that much later, from others who weren’t tortured. If torture is so effective (“every child knows that if his arm is twisted he’ll eventually tell his older brother where he hid the candy”), then why did KSM withhold this key information?

    Let’s recall what we were repeatedly told about torture: that it works great in a ticking time-bomb situation, when lives depend on getting truthful and complete information right away. Now we know what a joke that is. We waterboarded KSM 183 times, and what we got were lies and denials. OBL got caught 8 years later. If this had been a ticking time bomb, we would have been 8 years too late. So much for the magical effectiveness of torture.

    =================
    Florack:

    McCain lost his presidential bids… both times… because he came down to the left of Bush.

    When you’re prepared to prove that McCain’s facts are wrong, let us know. In the meantime we can rely on you to do lots of arm-waving.

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  44. Eric Florack says:

    already well-proven, your desperate denials not withstanding.

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  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    already well-proven

    On which planet? Where is that proof hiding? Could we possibly persuade you to get it out from under wraps? Or is it classified information that has been revealed to only you?

    Simple question: why didn’t KSM (or any other person we waterboarded) tell us the courier’s real name?

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  46. Eric Florack says:

    it strikes me as interesting that so many who say Ron Paul’s devotion to principle is too rigid, for the reality, are themselves unable to get their minds around this one.

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  47. jukeboxgrad says:

    Mukasey (sort of) has posted a response to McCain. The response has some peculiar characteristics, as Wheeler explains:

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/05/13/michael-mukasey-doubles-down-on-the-sophism/

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  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    it strikes me as interesting …

    It strikes me as interesting that you’re continuing to bang your shoe on the table. I can’t find the part of your comment where you address any of the questions I asked you.

    Is this a drinking game? How many evasive, irrelevant statements can Florack post before we all run out of booze?

    so many who say Ron Paul’s devotion to principle is too rigid

    The “rigid … devotion to principle” is all yours. You’re devoted to the principle that we must continue to torture, even after we’ve seen proof that it doesn’t work.

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  49. Wayne says:

    Stating that most of the information was obtain by other means doesn’t mean they didn’t get valuable information using enhance interrogation techniques, It also is known that for many who are capture they feel for them to be honorable they need to go through a harsh interrogation before giving up information. Once they meet that obligation then they tend to open up a great deal.

    On this issue McCain because of his experience in Vietnam is too personally involved. Being too close to the subject has often made him irrational on the subject. Similar to someone I know who was in a motorcycle crash that won’t get within 50 feet of one and believe they all should be destroyed. He so emotionally involved with the subject area that one can’t talk reason with him.

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  50. [...] John McCain: Neither Waterboarding Nor Any Other Form Of Torture Led To Bin Laden (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

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  51. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well, it was G.A.Phillips who provided the link…

    Yup, so? Oh yeah, I forgot, I’m a troll, racist,scared of perverts, anti baby murder,pro inquisition,and anti X-MEN Star Trek, Islamic, green Nazi world view….

    Maybe Phillips knows that Whittle is a liar and just wanted us to have a good laugh. Right, Phillips?

    Everything is a lie except for indoctrinated liberal attacking point media opinion apparatus regurgitation, everything! Pass the Kool-aid!!!!

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  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    Wayne:

    Stating that most of the information was obtain by other means doesn’t mean they didn’t get valuable information using enhance interrogation techniques

    It’s not just that “most of the information was obtain by other means.” It’s that the most important information was withheld, despite torture.

    And please let us know when you come up with a reliable source for the claim that we did “get valuable information using enhance interrogation techniques.” By ‘reliable source,’ I mean someone other than Cheney and Rumsfeld, who are probably careful about traveling outside the US because they know they could be prosecuted for war crimes.

    On this issue McCain because of his experience in Vietnam is too personally involved.

    Forget everything McCain said. The fact remains that KSM, even though he was waterboarded 183 times, didn’t tell us the courier’s real name. Even the torturers have admitted this. How can the procedure be considered effective when 183 attempts failed to elicit this key information?

    The whole premise of torture is that it supposedly gives us a quick, easy way to find out everything we need to know. We now know that this premise is a sick joke.

    He so emotionally involved with the subject area that one can’t talk reason with him

    So far you and the other torture apologists have made no attempts to answer any of the questions I’ve raised. This means that “can’t talk reason” is a description of you.

    =================
    G.A.Phillips:

    I’m a troll, racist,scared of perverts, anti baby murder,pro inquisition,and anti X-MEN Star Trek, Islamic, green Nazi world view

    I’m not sure about all those things, but here’s something I am sure about: you cited a liar.

    Everything is a lie

    Not exactly. But everything Whittle says should be assumed to be a lie, until proven otherwise. Why? Because he has a proven track record as a liar:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/campaigning-like-its-2008/#comment-1400209

    I guess this is your way of admitting that you have nothing substantive to say in his defense, or in your defense.

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  53. Eric Florack says:

    ah, but you see,,, the proof is now in that it does in fact work… And the CW had it nailed all along.

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  54. jukeboxgrad says:

    the proof is now in that it does in fact work

    You keep talking about this mysterious “proof,” but never bother mentioning where it’s hidden. When you say “now in,” you mean “in” what, exactly? That is, aside from “in” your imagination.

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  55. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    First of all, “rendered for interrogation” is a figment of your imagination. Do you even know what “rendered” means? McCain said nothing about “rendered.”

    Jukeboxgrad,

    Hi again, dim bulb. Read the main post where McCain is quoted as saying we did not “render” the guy for the “purpose of interrogation”, and then go to the link to the video of his Senate speech where he uses that exact word. Also note that he doesn’t say “who we believe was not tortured” in the quoted language in the main post or in the video.

    Oh, and Jukeboxgrad … your credibility just went buh bye.

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  56. jukeboxgrad says:

    go to the link to the video of his Senate speech where he uses that exact word

    You’re right, he didn’t say “render” in his article, but he did say it in his speech. I missed that.

    Also note that he doesn’t say “who we believe was not tortured” in the quoted language in the main post or in the video.

    Duh. Doug didn’t paste in the entire WP article that McCain wrote. It makes no difference that this statement is not “in the quoted language in the main post or in the video.” It’s in the article McCain wrote. One more time:

    The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bin-ladens-death-and-the-debate-over-torture/2011/05/11/AFd1mdsG_story.html

    So you need to explain why you said this:

    His cleverly (dishonestly) worded statement doesn’t really deny that the person rendered for interrogation was tortured

    You need to explain how the words “who we believe was not tortured” mean something other than “deny that the person rendered for interrogation was tortured.”

    And I’m still waiting for you and all the other torture apologists to explain how torture can be considered effective when KSM withheld the key information (i.e., the courier’s real name) even though he was waterboarded 183 times.

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  57. Eric Florack says:

    You keep talking about this mysterious “proof,” but never bother mentioning where it’s hidden.

    Buried at sea, I believe they said. .

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  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    The proof that torture worked is that OBL is dead? Maybe you didn’t hear, but he died of gunshot wounds. I didn’t realize you were calling that torture.

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  59. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    Jukeboxgrad, you need to explain why he deliberately omitted the “who we do not believe was tortured” line out of his Senate speech. Was he (or his ghostwriter) lying to the Washington Post, or lying to the Senate? And how would he (or the royal “we”) have slightest idea whether the guy that was rendered to some secret foreign prison was tortured or not? You DO know that the whole purpose of rendition is to delegate the torture to foreigners so we can pretend our hands aren’t dirty? And you

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  60. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    Jukeboxgrad, you need to explain why he deliberately omitted the “who we do not believe was tortured” line out of his Senate speech. Was he (or his ghostwriter) lying to the Washington Post, or lying to the Senate? And how would he (or the royal “we”) have slightest idea whether the guy that was rendered to some secret foreign prison was tortured or not? You DO know that the whole purpose of rendition is to delegate the torture to foreigners so we can pretend our hands aren’t dirty? And you know the Obama fully supports rendition and thus torture? No, it’s not a figment of my imagination.

    Are you a shooting-in-the-face apologist? Should the special ops men who undergo waterboarding be shot in the face instead because it’s so humane? Do you have any argument to distinguish the two other than Obama’s childish claim that one of them is not “who we are” or part of our “values”?

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  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    you need to explain why he deliberately omitted the “who we do not believe was tortured” line out of his Senate speech

    You need to explain why you are making an accusation lacking proof. You don’t know that “he deliberately omitted” anything. You only know that the sentence is present in the article and not present in the speech. That is not proof that “he deliberately omitted” anything. He was not obligated to read his entire article verbatim as part of his speech.

    You are essentially claiming that every statement he made in the article which he did not also make in the speech was “deliberately omitted” and should be treated as a lie. That’s the utmost in silliness.

    You, on the other hand, still need to explain why you said this:

    His cleverly (dishonestly) worded statement doesn’t really deny that the person rendered for interrogation was tortured

    In that statement, you are pretending that he didn’t say something that he actually said. The fact that he made the statement in the article but not in the speech is immaterial. What matters is that he made the statement. Why did you pretend he didn’t?

    how would he (or the royal “we”) have slightest idea whether the guy that was rendered to some secret foreign prison was tortured or not?

    The same way he got his other facts: by talking to people who are in a position to know.

    Now tell us where you’re getting your facts, and what makes you more knowledgable and credible than he is. And please answer the question that everyone is afraid to answer: explain how torture can be considered effective when KSM withheld the key information (i.e., the courier’s real name) even though he was waterboarded 183 times.

    Are you a shooting-in-the-face apologist? Should the special ops men who undergo waterboarding be shot in the face instead because it’s so humane? Do you have any argument to distinguish the two

    This is an exceptionally ignorant question, even for you. And I already answered this question:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/john-mccain-neither-waterboarding-nor-any-other-form-of-torture-led-to-bin-laden/#comment-1406416

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  62. Eric Florack says:

    Perhaps you guys don’t read the New York Times?

    “The detainee gave us names from the highest to the lowest,” Captain Fowler told the Iraqi soldiers. “He showed us their safe houses, where they store weapons and I.E.D.’s and where they keep kidnap victims, how they get weapons, where weapons come from, how they place I.E.D.’s, attack us and go away. Because you detained this guy this is the first intelligence linking everything together. Good job. Very good job.”

    The Iraqi officers beamed. What the Americans did not know and what the Iraqis had not told them was that before handing over the detainees to the Americans, the Iraqi soldiers had beaten one of them in front of the other two, the Iraqis said. The stripes on the detainee’s back, which appeared to be the product of a whipping with electrical cables, were later shown briefly to a photographer, who was not allowed to take a picture.

    To the Iraqi soldiers, the treatment was normal and necessary. They were proud of their technique and proud to have helped the Americans.

    “I prepared him for the Americans and let them take his confession,” Capt. Bassim Hassan said through an interpreter. “We know how to make them talk. We know their back streets. We beat them. I don’t beat them that much, but enough so he feels the pain and it makes him desperate.”

    As American and Iraqi troops set up these outposts in dangerous neighborhoods to take on the insurgents block by block, they find themselves continually facing lethal attacks. In practice, the Americans and Iraqis seem to have different answers about what tactics are acceptable in response.

    Beatings like this, which are usually hard to verify but appear to be widespread given the fears about the Iraqi security forces frequently expressed by ordinary Iraqis, present the Americans with a largely undiscussed dilemma.

    The fact is torture works. Period.
    Argue from your moral squeamishness on the matter if you feel you must, but arguing it doesn’t work is simply foolish.

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  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    Perhaps you guys don’t read the New York Times?

    When I do, I try to read the whole article. You seem to have missed this part:

    The use of torture by American soldiers and contractors at Abu Ghraib only compounded Iraqi hatred of Americans and further undermined American moral claims in Iraq. It also produced little valuable information. Most experts, including in the military, say they believe that coerced confessions are an unreliable way to learn about enemy operations because people being tortured will often say whatever they think it will take to stop the pain.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/22/world/middleeast/22detain.html

    Funny how you didn’t provide a link. Maybe you didn’t want anyone to see that.

    The fact is torture works.

    Do you understand the difference between anecdotes and data? “The fact is” that a stopped clock is right twice a day. An isolated anecdote about torture allegedly working is equally impressive.

    And I notice you’re still part of the group that’s still too cowardly to address this question: explain how torture can be considered effective when KSM withheld the key information (i.e., the courier’s real name) even though he was waterboarded 183 times.

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  64. Eric Florack says:

    The use of torture by American soldiers and contractors at Abu Ghraib only compounded Iraqi hatred of Americans and further undermined American moral claims in Iraq.

    So, you think we’re really worried about those who already hate is, LIKING us? Look, man, This wasn’t a war of popularity but one of our survival.

    Oh, please. By that logic heart attack patients still die under treatment, so we should stop treating all heart patients.

    The effectiveness of the method is affected by the individual, as are all punishments, threats etc. But clearly it works often enough to be used in like situations.

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  65. jukeboxgrad says:

    you think we’re really worried about those who already hate is, LIKING us?

    You need to decide if we’re there to kill them all or if we’re there because we want them to create a society that will be our ally. These goals are contradictory. Conservative tend to get confused about this.

    Petraeus understands this point, even though you don’t:

    This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we — not our enemies — occupy the moral high ground

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/10/AR2007051001963.html?hpid=topnews

    clearly it works often enough to be used in like situations

    Then explain why it didn’t work with KSM.

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  66. anjin-san says:

    So, you think we’re really worried about those who already hate is, LIKING us? Look, man, This wasn’t a war of popularity but one of our survival.

    It must be a terrible thing to go through life gripped by abject fear.

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  67. Northeast Elizabeth says:

    Yeah, JBG, Mukasey’s response totally blew away your argument that waterboarding didn’t work on KSM, and I can see why you’re so up

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  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    Northeast Elizabeth:

    Mukasey’s response totally blew away your argument that waterboarding didn’t work on KSM

    Thanks for making it so clear that you’re not paying attention. All the torturers and torture apologists, including Mukasey, have admitted, either explicitly or implicitly, that KSM refused to tell us the courier’s real name. Pay attention to what Mukasey said:

    Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand. It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information—including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703859304576305023876506348.html

    And then Mukasey said that again:

    KSM disclosed the nickname — al Kuwaiti — along with a wealth of other information, some of which was used to stop terror plots then in progress.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/mukasey-responds-to-mccains-op-ed/2011/05/12/AFhhVO1G_blog.html

    I highlighted some important words.

    Do you understand why OBL was caught in 2011, and not 2003? Because what we got from KSM (“the nickname”) was virtually worthless. This is information we already had, and it’s information that didn’t help us. The whole point of the person having a nickname was to conceal his identity. What we really needed was the courier’s real name. This is what allowed us to find the courier. And we didn’t get this information until years later, from other sources who weren’t tortured.

    Which brings us back to the question no one wants to answer. Explain how torture can be considered effective when KSM withheld the key information (i.e., the courier’s real name) even though he was waterboarded 183 times.

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  69. Eric Florack says:

    Which brings us back to the question no one wants to answer. Explain how torture can be considered effective when KSM withheld the key information (i.e., the courier’s real name) even though he was waterboarded 183 times.

    So, what you’re saying is that it needs to work %100 of he time for you to consider it effective?

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  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    it needs to work %100 of he time for you to consider it effective?

    Uh, no. There are few things that “work %100 of he time.” The problem in this instance is not that it didn’t “work %100 of he time.” The problem is that it essentially didn’t work at all. The only specific fact that Mukasey points to is that KSM told us “the nickname.” Problem number one: we already had that information. Problem number two: it’s not really what we needed.

    KSM withheld what we really needed (the courier’s real name), even though we waterboarded him 183 times. How is this consistent with the idea that torture is effective? How is this consistent with Mukasey’s claim that KSM “broke like a dam [and] loosed a torrent of information?”

    That’s what we were told all along about waterboarding: that within seconds, the victim would tell us everything. What’s amazing about Mukasey is that he’s still essentially making this claim, even though his own words prove that the claim is false. Mukasey himself has implicitly admitted that KSM withheld the most important information.

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  71. anjin-san says:

    Pity Bitsy the torture cheerleader, looking in desperation for a way to feel a little safer.

    Even in death, bin laden has ownage on him…

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  72. Eric Florack says:

    it needs to work %100 of he time for you to consider it effective?

    Uh, no. There are few things that “work %100 of he time.”

    Then on what basis is the idea that KSM proved resistive a valid argument on it’s own to shu such methods down in ALL cases? Seems you’re reaching beyond your ken, here.

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  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    on what basis is the idea that KSM proved resistive a valid argument on it’s own to shu such methods down in ALL cases?

    If it was so ineffective on him, despite 183 iterations, there’s no reason to think it would be more effective with someone else.

    The premise that was presented, and that people like Mukasey are still presenting, is that torture is quick and highly effective, on everyone. We now know that this premise is false.

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  74. An Interested Party says:

    Look, man, This wasn’t a war of popularity but one of our survival.

    Yes indeed! We had to invade and occupy Iraq for our survival…once again you show your ridiculous derangement, a judgement that everyone is in a position to make after seeing what you have written…

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  75. [...] John McCain: Neither Waterboarding Nor Any Other Form Of Torture Led To Bin Laden (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

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