One more thought on torture

The idea that the information contained in the SSCI report is so volatile, so outrageous, so intolerable that it could actually inspire attacks on Americans and American interests overseas is, if true, an argument not to do the things mentioned in the report. It’s not an argument for burying the report and pretending we never did those things. Drezner thinks the whole notion is silly, but I’m not sure I agree. I think it’s unlikely that anybody would be motivated by this report to go join up with Al-Qaeda or ISIS if they weren’t otherwise motivated to do so, but it’s easy to see how knowledge of this program could increase general hostility toward America and our allies, and thereby make it a little easier for those jihadi groups to operate in some areas. Of course, that assumes that people didn’t already know what we’ve been doing, which is probably not correct.

At any rate, the way you prevent backlash over your decision to torture prisoners is “don’t decide to torture prisoners in the first place.”


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