The sheer ugliness of it is breathtaking. There is no other way to describe things like rectal hydration, sleep deprivation, prolonged standing, and stress positions.
The Senate report on CIA interrogation techniques in the years following the 2001 attacks includes all those terms and more. There is also stuff like secret prisons located in dark corners of places such as Poland and Thailand, not to mention cover ups intended to keep people like then Secretary of State Colin Powell from, as one memo put it, "blowing his stack."
Yes, when it comes to that sort of business it is best to keep the decent people out of the loop. There is no telling what they might say, or do in response to all the gruesome brutality being committed in the name of Truth, Justice and the American Way.
There are currently two versions of the usefulness of what the CIA prefers to describe as "enhanced interrogation." The first is expressed by people such as Georgia republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. It is that water boarding and the like was a necessary evil, but it provided us with viable intelligence and prevented further attacks. The second is it didn't do diddly squat and in fact led the CIA on many a wild goose chase. That is the report's conclusion.
It is also the opinion of Senator John McCain, R-AZ. He should know. McCain is the only sitting U.S. politician who has been on the wrong end of such goings on. In his words, "I know from first hand experience that harsh treatment of prisoners does not provide accurate intelligence."
That would be the old, Tell Them What They Want to Hear Rather Than What You Really Know response after having the nozzle of a water hose shoved up your ass.
According to the report it is exactly what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did on several occasions while he was the guest of the CIA. It was something the people who were performing the "enhanced interrogation" seemed to realize, although they kept on doing it for several weeks even after practically everyone at the top had come to the same conclusion.
Apparently the methods used by CIA operatives were developed by two psychologists who have been identified as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Their firm landed a $180 million contract from the government in order to come up with lovely ideas such as confining a prisoner in a small coffin like box for days on end. NBC reports the contract was terminated in 2009, but by then Mitchell and Jessen had already been paid $81 million for their creative input.
The report says neither of them had any interrogation experience, didn't speak Arabic, and had no real knowledge of Al Qaeda, or its personnel. Mitchell, who reportedly spent 30 years in the Air Force, was quoted by NBC as saying those charges are, "...flat wrong."
In fact, as far as he is concerned, the whole report is nothing more than a $40 million scam. He released a statement saying, "What they are asking you to believe is that multiple directors of the CIA and analysts who made their living for years doing this lied to the federal government, or were too stupid to know that the intelligence they were getting wasn't useful."
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden went even further. He told NBC none of this horrific shit should even be considered torture. Mr. Hayden who served as the Spy In Chief from 2006 to 2009 also said the treatment the prisoners received was mild compared to what happens in other parts of the world. In other words there are plenty of people out there who should be so lucky.
Well, you have to say something don't you.
On the other end of the spectrum Senator Mark Udall, D-CO claims the subterfuge is ongoing to this day. He says current CIA Director John Brennan promised complete cooperation with the investigation during his confirmation hearing. According to Udall the very moment Brennan became the agency's head he did an about face and abetted by Barack H. Obama himself, continues to hide the truth from the American public.
Whatever the case might be the report makes it clear that those among us who still claim the United States of America is a morally superior nation might want to rethink their position.
There are plenty of governments on this ball who treat prisoners savagely. Tragically we are one of them. That terrible truth isn't going to go away no matter what the excuses.
The uber patriots will probably continue to deny it. The rest of us, if we really believe in America, can't afford to.