Everything’s Coming Up Torture

I picture Barbara Bush on a stage with klieg lights. Cue Sondheim.

I had a dream! I dreamed for you Georgie!
It wasn’t for you… Jeb!
And it it wasn’t for me
Then where would you be
Mr. Dick Cheney!

Honey, Everything’s Coming Up Torture!

I was going to write a complete set of lyrics but my brain is addled on a Thursday night.

I finished Naomi Wolf’s The End of America. There is a paragraph that I’ve read at least eight times now. It absolutely made my jaw drop.

Wolf is talking about torture and how experts say it doesn’t work, it doesn’t produce reliable intelligence and everyone knows this: there is no ticking time bomb scenario in real life and torture doesn’t produce useful information.

The purpose of torture is to prove that torture has a purpose. The torturer has a vested interest in proving that what they are doing is useful and will continue to torture – not to extract the truth – but to extract what they want to hear.

Here’s the swatch that kinda blew my mind:

Consider: If you have a much-hyped threat that you’ve used to lead the nation into war – and if case after case against the “dangerous terrorists” falls apart – don’t you need false confessions? If you torture prisoners, you will certainly obtain an endless stream of false confessions. In this sense, Guantanamo is an efficient machine for producing a high-value political product: false confessions by brown people with Muslim names.

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That encapsulates the whole torture argument. We torture because it is the only way we can extract the confessions needed to continue the war on terror.

We don’t torture to get at the truth – we torture to manufacture it.