You think the torture program was only to uncover Jihadist threats to American lives? Then you do not know and have not pondered what the power to torture can do to the torturers. They believe they know something; they torture captives to tell them; they then believe they have uncovered the truth. The mindset of the last vice-president, we know, is one of fathomless fear and paranoia:
Everybody's in a giant conspiracy to achieve a different objective than the one we want to achieve."
Cheney saw that conspiracy not just in foreign capitals - but also in the CIA, the Congress, and, above all, the State Department. In his mind, it was obvious that Saddam had WMDs, that he had an operational link with al Qaeda, and the more he failed to find actual evidence for either, the more fanatical Cheney became that he was right. That is an almost clinical description of the motive to torture. And so it is no surprise that Cheney wanted to use the weapon that would prove anything he wanted to prove.
The Daily Beast now reports that no less a figure than weapons inspector Charles Duelfer has written about an incident that adds extra detail to Larry Wilkerson's conviction. According to Duelfer, a figure who is obviously Cheney intervened to urge the torture of a prisoner in Iraq, "Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi, the head of the M-14 section of Mukhabarat, one of Saddam’s secret police organizations. His responsibilities included chemical weapons and contacts with terrorist groups."
Cheney wanted proof that he was right. What better way to "discover" "truth" than to torture it out of someone? And this "truth" from torture - the kind of truth that would never be allowed for an instant in a court of law - formed the basis, we now know, for a large part of the 9/11 Commission report:
More than one-quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al Qaeda operatives subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations was central to the 9/11 Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks.
How do we know that any of this information procured through torture is reliable? What dark hall of mirrors has Cheney led us into?