How Desperate Are The Torture Defenders?

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 6 2014 @ 9:31pm


In the last couple of days, we’ve seen quite a panic from the war criminals who will likely be definitively exposed for who they are in the upcoming Senate Intelligence Report and, yes, in history. For some reason, the Washington Post gave Jose Rodriguez – the man who is so proud of his record performing humane enhanced interrogations that he destroyed the evidence of them – a platform to say … well, nothing:

Unlike the committee’s staff, I don’t have to examine the [torture] program through a rearview mirror. I was responsible for administering it, and I know that it produced critical intelligence that helped decimate al-Qaeda and save American lives … I don’t know what the committee thinks it found in the files, but I know what I saw in real time: a program that provided critical information about the operations and leadership of al-Qaeda …

Translation: I don’t need to know any of the facts, or review any of the evidence, to know that I was right. He sounds like my dad refusing to ask for directions. And of course, you can see why, psychologically, he must believe this.

He has a massive sunk moral cost in the torture program. If you have tortured people, you will  grasp at anything to believe it was justified. The alternative is acknowledging you committed war crimes – and then covered up the evidence (which cover-up, of course, precipitated the Senate investigation).

And then we have this risibly sexist attempt to duck responsibility for his own war crimes from former CIA chief Michael Hayden:

Hayden said Feinstein “wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention interrogation would never again be considered or permitted. That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don’t think it leads you to an objective report,” Hayden said.

You can and should be outraged (but hardy surprised) by the fact that these men throwing dust in the air are given such prominent platforms in Washington. But you might be encouraged by one obvious conclusion from their remarks: they’ve obviously got nothing. And their bluff is slowly being called.