Torture and Denial

A reader writes:

As a psychiatrist, I have a different view from the one you articulated on why we Americans can recognize that the false confessions of British were obviously coerced by torture while overlooking the fact that our own use of torture likely results in poor intelligence. Because we are angry at suspected terrorists, we are (unconsciously) looking for any justification to act out our anger by harming them. That is, we like the idea of torturing terrorists because it harms those we hate and post hoc justify our desire to harm them with the excuse that it may result in the elicitation of important information. If we look too closely at the lack of evidence for the efficacy of torture, we may lose our supposedly rational argument for continuing this form of interrogation and our opportunity to get back at our enemies. So we unconsciously choose not to analyze the evidence that is staring us in the face.  There is plenty of empirical evidence that people ignore or undervalue evidence that contradicts their belief systems.

We tortured them because we hate them. "Treat them like dogs," as General Miller, Rumsfeld's hand-picked man, ordered.