Friday, May 15, 2009

CONfirmation Not Information

As people have been pointing out for some time: torture is most useful for eliciting false confessions from its victims. This is just in the nature of the enterprise: after all, you may not have endeared yourself to the person you're tormenting, so you can hardly trust that he or she has been persuaded to help you out with genuinely useful information. But, if you already know just what you want to hear from the torture victim -- for instance, that he has been in league with the Devil, or with Al Qaida -- then it's pretty easy to persuade a person to say anything, given a willingness to inflict torment. It bears the hallmark of the diabolically "sweet deal" too -- the "confession" retroactively justifies the method of its extraction. So it's not surprising that the Bushies hoped to use torture to confirm the falsehoods that they'd been selling the country. In fact, it may have been inevitable.


Post a Comment

<< Home