Did torture lead to the wrong war?

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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(CNN) -- Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.

... "Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.

...The detainee had not revealed any al Qaeda-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, 'revealed' such contacts...
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/14/iraq.torture/

It is said that torture leads to the answers that the torturers want to hear. Could it be that these illegal procedures led to the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history - the invasion of Iraq?

Was Cheney determined to torture people until he heard what he wanted to hear?
 

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  • #2
LowlyPion
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It is said that torture leads to the answers that the torturers want to hear. Could it be that these illegal procedures - waterboarding, in particular - led to the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history - the invasion of Iraq?

Was Cheney determined to torture people until he heard what he wanted to hear?
Bigger mistake than Viet Nam?

Since they apparently found nothing that offered any particular link, I think the torturing was merely symptomatic of the result that Bush-Cheney wanted to arrive at, not causative of the result.
 
  • #3
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It is said that torture leads to the answers that the torturers want to hear. Could it be that these illegal procedures - waterboarding, in particular - led to the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history - the invasion of Iraq?
I would like to assume that the US military also used its extensive intelligence to sort out what they 'needed' and didn't 'need' based on what was most likely true.

Or that they would ask similar questions to people and get answers along the same lines even though they hadn't 'biased' the persons view just tortured it out of them. Although I think it is completely possible that the person would just spew out random information in an attempt to save themselves such as people had done during the Spanish Inquisition.

I just like to think that America has moved beyond these methods. It would seem like a waste of one of the worlds best logisitcs and intelligence countries...
 
  • #4
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I would like to assume that the US military also used its extensive intelligence to sort out what they 'needed' and didn't 'need' based on what was most likely true.

Or that they would ask similar questions to people and get answers along the same lines even though they hadn't 'biased' the persons view just tortured it out of them. Although I think it is completely possible that the person would just spew out random information in an attempt to save themselves such as people had done during the Spanish Inquisition.

I just like to think that America has moved beyond these methods. It would seem like a waste of one of the worlds best logisitcs and intelligence countries...
The military didn't have any choice in the matter. They were told Iraq had WMD. They trained for and expected to find WMD. While staging in Kuwait they went through endless drills putting on protective gear that was never used in Iraq.

A bit farther down in Ivan's link:

Al-Libi's claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's government had trained al Qaeda operatives in producing chemical and biological weapons appeared in the October 2002 speech then-President Bush gave when pushing Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. It also was part of Powell's February 2003 presentation to the United Nations on the case for war, a speech Powell has called a "blot" on his record.
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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...The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html

I have a hard time understanding why they thought 10, or 150 times wasn't enough. Did he finally get his story straight after the 183rd waterboarding?
 
  • #6
LowlyPion
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Here is an interesting link to Abu Zabaidah's transcript at his hearing in 2007, 5 years after he was tortured.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Verbatim_Transcript_of_Combatant_Status_Review_Tribunal_Hearing_for_ISN_10016

I think it is difficult after reading this to suggest that he wasn't tortured.

I also think there is every likelihood that little was gained from whatever torture was employed. (The memos that Cheney is all charged up about having released I suspect are most likely as self-serving as the OLC memos that justified the torture in the first place. They cry to be viewed skeptically, considering the source.)

I think it was a shame that an administration that was so ill endowed with management skills (e.g the economy, Katrina, etc.), and so overloaded with some paranoid agenda, and apparently predisposed to avenge daddy Bush's shortcomings in the prosecution of the previous incursion into Kuwait, ... what a shame these kind of people were in office.

But as to the original premise here, the torture of Abu Zabaidah looks to be more a consequence of their agenda, any fig leaf they could use to disguise what they could not justify, than anything that directly resulted in the war. After all, it would seem that little was actually gained from these ordeals they subjected these detainees to.
 
  • #7
chemisttree
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http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/14/iraq.torture/

It is said that torture leads to the answers that the torturers want to hear. Could it be that these illegal procedures led to the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history - the invasion of Iraq?

Was Cheney determined to torture people until he heard what he wanted to hear?
Only CNN would consider this news. It is a http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0622-03.htm" [Broken]

Same OLD stuff.
 
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  • #8
LowlyPion
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  • #9
LowlyPion
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Regarding the overweening desire to draw links between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and indeed maybe even a predisposition to take aggressive action against Iraq, from before 9/11, there is this account about Cheney and Rumsfeld undermining Tenet, because the CIA wasn't coming up with compelling evidence to link Iraq to WMDs.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darkside/view/

It makes all the more credible the reports that Cheney was wanting to water-board prisoners taken in Iraq after taking Baghdad - a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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It is said that torture leads to the answers that the torturers want to hear. Could it be that these illegal procedures led to the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history - the invasion of Iraq?

Was Cheney determined to torture people until he heard what he wanted to hear?
Do you have an answer to the question in mind?

This doesn't sound anything like the justification used for the war. Bush may have wanted a terrorism link and hinted at it (and I see they mention one specific incident, but I don't even remember that one), that was a secondary justification to the WMDs: he suggested terrorists could be provided with WMDs, but all of the specifics were the WMDs themselves and how they related to treaty/UN resolution violations.

This looks like the start of some revisionist history to me.
 
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  • #11
russ_watters
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  • #12
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  • #13
LowlyPion
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What does this have to do with the article/topic in the OP?
It does raise the question that if water-boarding - the last of 10 levels of enhanced interrogation techniques approved by Bush's OLC - if it was so effective at getting information, why was it used so relentlessly 183 times? Is there some formula for their needing to hear something repeated some number of times? Why so many?

And yet there are accounts the Kalid Sheik Mohammed was singing after the very first. Did his song really have 183 refrains?

Or is it possible they were not satisfied, because they were supposed to establish a link with Iraq, because that could then be really valuable in continuing to justify what they had done already without established intelligence? And they couldn't. That the massive number of water events was more a sign of their frustration, than it was that they were getting useful intell?

As to Bush ... do you really think he was out of the loop? Was Cheney? It seems he was tunneled into things at a very detailed level. The article relying on Wilkerson's account, mentions Cheney suggesting water boarding enemy combatants taken on the field of action. There's no waffle available to claim that this detainee did not meet the Geneva Convention criteria. That smacks of clear cut war crime.

If there is revisionism afoot, perhaps it would be more correctly laid at the feet of Cheney, and now his daughter, making the rounds of talk shows?
 
  • #14
LowlyPion
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Wow...Cheney did the waterboarding(???)...
It doesn't say that he did it. Maybe you should read it a little more carefully?
 
  • #15
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Do you have an answer to the question in mind?

This doesn't sound anything like the justification used for the war. Bush may have wanted a terrorism link and hinted at it (and I see they mention one specific incident, but I don't even remember that one), that was a secondary justification to the WMDs: he suggested terrorists could be provided with WMDs, but all of the specifics were the WMDs themselves and how they related to treaty/UN resolution violations.

This looks like the start of some revisionist history to me.
Given that Saddam had no WMD the UNSC violations were null and void. A lot of the alleged violations had to do with the assumption that Saddam had WMD and the fact that Saddam refused to "tell the truth" and instead "was sticking to his "story" that they were all destroyed, that they did not exist.

The same flawed logic is now applied to Iran's so-called "nuclear weapons program".
 
  • #16
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What does this have to do with the article/topic in the OP?

Is this whole thread just a random, directionless anti-Bush rant?
I could not agree more...as evidenced by"

"Was Cheney determined to torture people until he heard what he wanted to hear?":rolleyes:

LP...it sure sounds like you think Cheney was active in the waterboarding?
 
  • #17
mheslep
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KSM was subjected to five water boarding sessions over a month, each one lasting an about an hour. That's according to KSM himself in the Red Cross report. The other two prisoners received similar treatment.
 
  • #18
mheslep
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...There's no waffle available to claim that this detainee did not meet the Geneva Convention criteria. That smacks of clear cut war crime.
If it is so clear cut please explain how the Geneva Conventions and its numerous qualifiers apply to KSM.
 
  • #19
Gokul43201
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This doesn't sound anything like the justification used for the war. Bush may have wanted a terrorism link and hinted at it (and I see they mention one specific incident, but I don't even remember that one), that was a secondary justification to the WMDs: he suggested terrorists could be provided with WMDs, but all of the specifics were the WMDs themselves and how they related to treaty/UN resolution violations.

This looks like the start of some revisionist history to me.
Wow! That's one comfortable rock you've been living under. =D

All through the build up for the war, there were primarily three reasons given as justification (in decreasing order of importance): i. active WMD programs posing danger of the imminent mushroom cloud, ii. links to al Qaeda and 9/11, iii. toppling evil dictator and spreading democracy through the ME. These were also the three reasons that Bush asserted (in that same order) in his final letter to Congress (quoted below) before the invasion.

The Saddam - al Qaeda link was most certainly one of the major reasons presented repeatedly by the Bush admin for going to war (both before and after the invasion). It remained big news when Bush finally admitted that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, when George Tenet appeared on Meet the Press (or 60 Minutes?) to say that the CIA had no definitive evidence for operational ties between Saddam and al Qaeda, and it continued to make the news every time Cheney repeated the message that there were ties between the two. It was a big enough deal the it was devoted considerable time by the 9/11 Commission and it was discussed at length in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the same issue. It was important enough that it was covered (in broad, sweeping language) in the Joint Resolution for going to War with Iraq. It was so deeply inserted into the public (civilian and military) psyche that it was cited by members of the Armed Forces in Iraq as the primary reason for their mission there, nearly three years after the invasion.

Talk about revisionist history!

Bush said:
Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.
Iraq War Resolution said:
Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on
terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested
by the President to take the necessary actions against international
terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations,
organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or
aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or
harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take
all appropriate actions against international terrorists and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or
persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist
attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such
persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take
action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism
against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint
resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law
107-40);
Bush said:
I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
MSNBC said:
9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida
...
The report, the 15th released by the commission staff, concluded, “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States.”
...
The panel's findings were released two days after Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that Saddam had "long-established ties" with al-Qaida.
...
President Bush defended the statement in a news conference Tuesday, saying the presence in Iraq of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is accused of trying to disrupt the transfer of sovereignty as well as last month's decapitation of American Nicholas Berg, provides "the best evidence of connection to al-Qaida affiliates and al-Qaida."

In making the case for war in Iraq, Bush administration officials frequently cited what they said were Saddam's decade-long contacts with al-Qaida operatives.
The Age said:
Saddam had no links to al-Qaeda

THERE is no evidence of formal links between former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda leaders before the invasion of Iraq by the US in 2003, a long-awaited declassified US Senate report has revealed.

The finding, contained in a 2005 CIA report released by the Senate's Intelligence Committee, is a major embarrassment for President George Bush and casts more doubt on the reasons why the so-called "Coalition of the willing" went to war.

President Bush has said the presence of the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, before the war was evidence of a link. But the report revealed that US intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush Administration officials were publicly asserting them to justify invasion.
Harris Poll said:
These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,012 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive between February 8 and 13, 2005.

On other issues concerning Iraq, the attitudes of large majorities of the public have not changed significantly in the past few months.
...
64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up slightly from 62% in November).
...
47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
Zogby said:
The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks," 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was "to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq."

References:







 
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  • #20
seycyrus
****
"Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went >to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America. "
****

Which of these(above) statements is in error?

****
Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on
terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested
by the President to take the necessary actions against international
terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations,
organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or
aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or
harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take
all appropriate actions against international terrorists and
terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or
persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist
attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such
persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take
action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism
against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint
resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law
107-40);
****

Is this the resolution that congress voted on? How did it turn out?
 
  • #21
Ivan Seeking
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What does that have to do with 911?

Saddam was no threat in 2002. As Obama said back then, Saddam could have been contained without a needless war.

Perhaps that's why Cheney once said that Saddam was not worth one American life.
 
  • #22
Ivan Seeking
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I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
- Barack Obama, October, 2002
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16903253/page/2/
 
  • #23
Gokul43201
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Which of these(above) statements is in error?
Irrelevant.

Is this the resolution that congress voted on? How did it turn out?
Also irrelevant.

The assertion being refuted here is that the Bush admin may have only hinted or hoped for a terrorism link but didn't actually use it to justify the war.
 
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  • #24
LowlyPion
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Here's a link to the sad story of Ibn_al-Shaykh_al-Libi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_al-Shaykh_al-Libi

He was apparently the basis of the claim that Cheney and Bush used that Saddam was linked to al Qaeda.

When he didn't supply any link, Bush-Cheney looks to have ordered to continue "interrogating" - read that as waterboarding - him until he revealed a link. He obliged them eventually with what seems to have been a false account to stop the torturing. He is now dead - having died in prison.

Not exactly America's finest hour.
 
  • #25
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Which of these(above) statements is in error?
The statements are misleading. It doesn't place them in the proper context. Abu Abbas was actually given amnesty by Israel (as part of starting the peace process in the early 1990s). He was living in Iraq quite openly, just like e.g. Idi Amin is living in Saudi Arabia. And like Saddam was offered to live in freedom in Qatar had he and his two sons left Iraq as Bush had demanded.

Abu Nidal went to Iraq and there he was presumably doing things the authorites didn't like. He was killed some weeks before the US invaded.

So, the statements are nothing more than propaganda meant to mobilize support for an illegal war.
 

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