The nomination process for Gina Haspel for Director of the CIA has brought the matter of torture front and center again. In being questioned by senators, Ms. Haspel said that under her watch, the CIA would forgo advanced interrogation techniques (torture) like waterboarding to obtain intelligence information. She also regurgitated today's politically correct mantra that “torture doesn't work.”
There may be reasons for the CIA to renounce torture. For one, a legitimate case can be made that torture demeans and degrades America's moral standing in the world. But to say that torture doesn't work?
The torture-is-ineffective crowd is made up of the likes of the editorial board of the New York Times, the senators questioning Ms. Haspel, the talking heads on MSNBC and CNN. Do a thought experiment. Imagine anyone of them being taken to a basement in Jersey City by a couple of goons intent of learning their most sensitive secrets. How long do you suppose any one of them would hold out before spilling their guts and betray confidences? Five or ten minutes ... maybe?
Now take waterboarding. I certainly would not want to be subjected to it. But to think or even to imply that waterboarding is the upper limit to torture is idiotic. Nor was what John McCain is said to have experienced during his stay in the Hanoi Hilton all of what his treatment could have been. Fact.
Please understand me. It's not my intent to advocate for torture. What I object to is the distortion of the thinking process which forces everyone to utter the stupidity that “torture doesn't work.” What say you?