Means Without Ends

by Patrick Appel

Conor Friedersdorf, citing Manzi's writings on torture, wants to know why those who support the practice only look at half the picture:

In praising the treatment of KSM, and arguing that it ought to be standard detainee policy, McCarthy and like-minded pundits never consider the significant strategic drawbacks to the tactic of tortureamong them eliciting false intelligence that squanders man hours; the fact that a torture policy causes some upstanding intelligence professionals to resign, and others to remove themselves from interrogations, hurting our capacity to gather good intelligence; that torture pushes more Muslims into the radical camp, increases anti-American sentiments, aids terrorist recruiting efforts, and undermines support for the war on terror even among significant numbers of Americans; that it causes allied countries to cooperate less with our counterterrorism efforts; that it reduces the morale of soldiers and intelligence professionals; and that “enhanced interrogation techniques” have demonstrably bled into military prisons, undermining our mission in a critical theater and leading to the rightful imprisonment of American soldiers, who were denounced even by the Bush administration.

What kind of national-security analyst ignores all that to argue that because KSM was waterboarded, sleep deprived, and later gave some useful information, the strategic case for “enhanced interrogation” is definitely vindicated?