Why We Tortured

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by Jeff Fecke | April 22, 2009 • One of the things I failed to note in the disquieting series of revelations about our national torture program was the timing of it; it seems that quite a bit of the ramping-up was occurring in late 2002 and 2003. That’s odd, of course. One would expect that if we were terrified of additional terror attacks in the wake of 9/11, we would have been looking into torture in late 2001. What was going on in late 2002 that suddenly made us turn to forms of interrogation that shock the senses?

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

What indeed?

The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.

So to summarize, we tortured prisoners so we could find the non-existent Iraq-al Qaeda link, which would justify the war against Iraq that the Bush Administration desperately wanted to wage.

I don’t even know how to express how depraved that is.

Of course, we daresn’t do anything about it. Karl Rove says that investigating war crimes would make us into a “Latin American country run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses,” as if torturing prisoners to justify a war of choice hasn’t already taken us far beyond that moral event horizon.

These people are evil. They are sick. And history will not treat them — or us — kindly.

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