Reader Comment on Torture Interrogations
Michael Pollak writes:
On Sunday you wrote:
“First, torture does not work, and there is no evidence that it worked at Abu Ghuraib.”
I quite agree, and it’s occurred to me that, on the face of it, Abu Ghuraib might in fact be a classic example of torture leading people to tell the interrogators what they want to hear.
Throughout the entire Fallujah crisis and still now afterwards, the army has steadfastly stuck to its story that the resistance there was almost entirely manned and organized by outside fighters. Nobody outside the US military seems to believe this, and there seems to be no evidence for it.
(As you well know, the number of foreigners captured is very small, and even most of them seem to belong to cross border tribes, who aren’t really foreign.) But Joe Ryan, in his online diary of an interrogator, states in several places that he was completely convinced by his interrogations that it was all caused by foreign fighters. If he is representative, it gives the impression that this is why the army is so sure about the foreigners when all the other evidence is against it. It’s not just because they want to believe it, but *because what they want to believe has was confirmed through interrogations.* Which unfortunately doesn’t make it true, but rather proves these methods don’t work.
– Michael Pollak