Torture is a B*llsh!t Machine!

05/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Hal Sparks Actor, Comedian, Musician, Writer...and opinion with legs

The current argument about torture is missing the point. The point of torture is the opposite of what the Bush administration said it was -- and to them, that was the best argument for it. Torture isn't for those who can't "handle" the truth. It's for those who aren't interested in it at all.

When Miss CA said that she didn't believe in anything but "opposite" marriage, supporters of her position knew they were in a pickle. They knew that the socio-political winds in this country have shifted and the vast majority of people either think gay rights are a non-issue or are for them to decide. So what do you do in that circumstance? You change the argument. You make it about free speech. It's not that what she said was being attacked, it was her right to think and say it that was! CNN and FOX ran with the story from a PR angle. "Should she have said something else instead of speaking from her heart?" was a common refrain. But most people saw the parity in the argument that anyone criticizing her for it had all the same rights she had and denying them the right to call her out for it made them just as guilty and the whole thing collapsed like...oh, I dunno, the GOP comes to mind. Anyway, the point is that often people will, for political advantage, take an issue and turn it on its head to defend it. Many things were wrapped in flags to get them in one of the public's ears and out the other without scrutiny. And now it's happening again in the torture "debate" that is going on -- so, if you will, a little perspective.

First of all, from Phillipe Sands to John McCain and Donald Rumsfeld to many CIA Operatives' statements it becomes clear that torture not only doesn't work but often provides false information and that most people who are subjected to torture will say anything to get it to stop!

Now, think about that for a second. But first pretend you are Dick Cheney. You are at a meeting with CIA heads and they tell you that torture is unusable because prisoners just make stuff up. And you, Dick Cheney, always a lemonade from lemons kind of fellow, think, "That's awesome! I've been trying to link Sadamm to Al Qaeda for years and this is perfect! Tell the interrogators that we "know" that there is a link and we need details and confirmation. "

...And therein lies the rub. Once interrogators get an idea in their head it's hard to reconcile that with the information they are getting from the person they are interrogating especially when the desire for specific information comes directly from the office of the Vice-President.

Regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:

Following his defense of the interrogation techniques authorized by the administration, Cheney continued: "Did it produce the desired results? I think it did. I think, for example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was the number three man in al-Qaeda, the man who planned the attacks of 9/11, provided us with a wealth of information. There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al-Qaeda came from that one source."

meanwhile what did CIA ops have to say about the info they got from torturing him?

"90 percent of it was total fucking bullshit," and a former Pentagon analyst added, "KSM produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were."

Did that stop the Bush and Cheney from selling their plans to the public using this info? Nope. Why should they? See if you need to create a narrative, torture is your buddy. Read any book on the Spanish Inquisition and you'll see that torture was great for getting what you wanted out of a prisoner, whether it was the truth or not! And the value of torture then becomes its ability to cement any fabricated narrative with "human intelligence" and "confessions" and "verification of suspicions". It is the enemy of truth. It becomes clearer by the day that truth was never the goal of the Bush administration's use of torture and they were in need of false information that was shaped by torture. In other words it was a sales tool -- and it always has been.