"No one can possibly believe that America is now safer because of the new restrictions on enhanced interrogation and the subsequent appointment of a special prosecutor."
So wrote the Washington Post's Richard Cohen in an op-ed Tuesday that is SURE to raise some liberal eyebrows.
In fact, the following snippets will likely raise some conservative ones as well (h/t Steve Malzberg):
No one can possibly believe that America is now safer because of the new restrictions on enhanced interrogation and the subsequent appointment of a special prosecutor. The captured terrorist of my fertile imagination, assuming he had access to an Internet cafe, knows about the special prosecutor. He knows his interrogator is under scrutiny. What person under those circumstances is going to spill his beans?
Ah yes, the interrogator must build rapport with the captured terrorist. That might work, but it would take time. It could take a lot of time. Building rapport is clearly the preferred method, but the terrorist is going to know all about it. He will bide his time. How much time do we have?
The CIA inspector general's report on the quite brutal interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the so-called Sept. 11 mastermind, suggests he only turned cooperative when he was repeatedly waterboarded and that the information he provided saved lives. Yet so much was redacted from the report that it is not clear that this is unambiguously the case. Maybe no lives were saved. Maybe Mohammed was waterboarded more than 100 times for nothing. It is an appalling possibility. [...]
The questions of what constitutes torture and what to do with those who, maybe innocently, applied what we now define as torture have to be removed from the political sphere. They cannot be the subject of an ideological tug of war, both sides taking extreme and illogical positions -- torture never works, torture always works, torture is always immoral, torture is moral if it saves lives. Torture always is ugly. So, though, is the hole in the ground where the World Trade Center once stood.