Monday, March 30, 2009

it was all a lie

Those of us arguing that maybe perhaps torture was stupid and immoral even when applied to terrorists during the Bush Administration always had to answer for the case of Abu Zubaida, that high level Al Qaida operative that the CIA tortured for information they used to foil lots of potential plots and nab Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. How could we argue that torture doesn't get good intel? It got good intel from Abu Zubaida!

Except, we now learned, it didn't. From Washington Post reporter Dan Froomkin:
Abu Zubaida was the alpha and omega of the Bush administration's argument for torture.

That's why Sunday's front-page Washington Post story by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick is such a blow to the last remaining torture apologists.

Finn and Warrick reported that "not a single significant plot was foiled" as a result of Zubaida's brutal treatment -- and that, quite to the contrary, his false confessions "triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms."

Zubaida was the first detainee to be tortured at the direct instruction of the White House. Then he was President George W. Bush's Exhibit A in defense of the "enhanced interrogation" procedures that constituted torture. And he continues to be held up as a justification for torture by its most ardent defenders.

But as author Ron Suskind reported almost three years ago -- and as The Post now confirms -- almost all the key assertions the Bush administration made about Zubaida were wrong.

Zubaida wasn't a major al Qaeda figure. He wasn't holding back critical information. His torture didn't produce valuable intelligence -- and it certainly didn't save lives.

I was beginning to forget how George W. Bush makes my blood boil, how it felt to be ruled by police state conservatives. He and Cheney really were monsters.

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