« In Which I Disagree With Megan McArdle Some More | Main | About That "Wise Latina" Line »

June 02, 2009

Comments

"Levin claims the docs don’t do anything to connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of the abusive techniques."

Am I wrong, or is Cheney's claim of torture's effectiveness a textbook example of a non-falsifiable-ness?

There are three necessary conditions for the success of the Big Lie tactic.

1) the Big Lie, the falsehood itself, so huge as to imply that, by its very size alone, it couldn't be false

2) a Big Liar. Someone with ostensible 'authority' or legitimacy to utter and repeat it.

3) a forum in which said Lie, uttered and repeated by said Liar, can be repeated frequently enough that the frequency itself bestows authenticity.

The Lie is that 'torture works,' whatever its moral status. The Liar is, of course, Cheney(s), and the fora are the cabloids, particularly Faux Gnus, but including all the rest which have hosted Cheney(s) and given them the air-time to repeat their falsehoods.

The 24-hour news cycle seems 'hegemonically' designed to perfectly meet the needs of the Big Lie: on cabloids, the Lie can be repeated indefinitely. It doesn't matter that some sources seem to rebut it; what matters is that it is out there, and being repeated.

Uh, Eric, what if the memos show that waterboarding + stress positions + sleep deprivation + other coercive techniques gained valuable, actionable intelligence? Would that make you, Sargent and Levin all liars? Would Cheney be vindicated? I ask these questions because right now we have a swearing match about what is inside two documents no one has seen. Seems to me that until we see those docs, it is just a matter of the partisans lining up and declaring their side to be right without bothering to examine the actual evidence.

My personal view is the the memos will be equivocal, so both sides can claim victory, but that's neither here nor there.

"Would that make you, Sargent and Levin all liars? Would Cheney be vindicated?"

What, exactly, would my lie be? What did I claim was in the memos? Sargent?

Levin did make a claim.

"Eric, what if the memos show that waterboarding + stress positions + sleep deprivation + other coercive techniques gained valuable, actionable intelligence?"

It depends. If the memos show that all were necessary, then it would vindicate Cheney. If not, not. As of now, Cheney appears to be walking back his initial claims.

That's what I found interesting.

BTW: Your personal view is probably right.

I should qualify my prior statement: It would vindicate Cheney on this one, narrow point (if the memos corroborate his claims).

But even if the memos back him up, and torture was necessary to glean some information, you have Generals Petraeus, Odierno, Jones, Taguba, Sanchez and others, Admiral Mullen and DefSec Gates all saying that torture increased the ranks of extremists and anti-American militants leading to the deaths of many US soldiers, Iraqi security personnel and Iraqi civilians.

Those leaders have also claimed that torture has caused widespread and significant damage to our national image which is vital in combatting extremists. Each thinks torture does more harm than good.

So even if the CIA memos break strongly in Cheney's favor, he still occupies a tenuous position in advocating for the use of torture.

And now Chain-Eye also tries to blame everything on Tenet (also preemptively), including Saddam-Al Qaeda links, Saddam-was-behind-9/11 and Saddam-had-WMDs.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad