Okay, my local redneck newspaper just printed one of Bill O'Rielly's columns, like it does most days out of the week. Now, ignoring for a moment that O'Rielly's lying ass should be in prison getting butt raped by an Aryan Nations thug for his role in the death of Dr. George Tiller, I want to talk about his editorial. In the editorial, O'Rielly said that since torture at Gitmo lead to valuable intel on Osama Bin Liden, its use is both effective and morally justified, and should be continued as an American military strategy.
First off, who gives a shit if torture is effective in gathering intel? There are lots of military tactics that are effective (at least in the short term) that the US doesn't use on moral grounds- child soldiers, suicide bombers. Torture may be super fucking useful, but know what, I don't care. It's a tactic the bad guys use, and America is supposed to be the good guys.
Second, I'm a witch. Now, I'm not the kind of Wiccan who believes in a hereditary witch cult stretching from pre-Christian times to now, and I know that most of those killed during the Burning Times /Inquisition were Christian heretics and free thinkers, the insane and those who simply had something the Christian power structure wanted. Very few 'witches' in the modern sense of the word, but they were tortured and died as witches, and I consider them family.
Now, aside from all the other lessons the Inquisition taught humanity, one lesson that should of been drummed into every military officer's head is this: Torture does not fucking work. Read some trial transcripts of the era- the Inquisition tortured people until they confessed to kissing the devil's rump. The lesson, you torture somebody enough he's going to confess to anything you want, up to and including giving a rimjob to a major mythological figure.
The Wikileaks documents prove that lesson again. Even if we got a few scraps of actionable intel from those imprisoned at Gitmo, the torture used to glean that intel also gave us ten years worth of bad intel, ten years worth of wild goose chases. As far as I can tell, no intel we received at Gitmo was substantially more complete or useful than that would of been gained by standard, Constitutional interrogation methods.
Anyway, I usually like to confine my politics to my books, but as a former intelligence analyst, and a member of a faith that was basically forged in a crucible of torture, I figured I had to comment on a particularly stinky piece of bullshit I stepped in today.