"I don't think torture belongs in the American arsenal. I think torture is illegal, is immoral, but I would go further and argue that it doesn't work. These silly scenarios [in which] the terrorist knows where the bomb is that's about to go off in 30 minutes -- that's not reality. Further, you have to judge what you get in information versus the strategic loss that you take when it is revealed, as it will be inevitably, that a country is employing torture.
In Madrid, [I chaired] a working group on intelligence at the time of the revelations of the abuses in Iraq. I was being pummeled by men who are not squeamish, not hand-wringing compassionate folks, [who said] it was worse than immoral -- it was stupid. The information really had very little value, and yet the loss that we took strategically to our reputation is tremendous. This is like going to Las Vegas and throwing down a million dollars to win a nickel.
Finally, you take into account that [using torture] changes the nature of our own society, and that is a tremendous cost. [As for legal justifications], I would find a legal brief more compelling if I knew the lawyer had witnessed an actual waterboarding -- more so, had the author been waterboarded. Let's waterboard a panel of lawyers and see where they come out," - Brian Jenkins, Senior Advisor to the President of the RAND Corporation.
One point stands out to me in this:
"[Using torture] changes the nature of our own society."
I wonder whether people have fully absorbed this fact.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.