Some high-profile assertions of falsehood that have been floating around lately, and that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention:
From former Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson: The truth about Richard Bruce Cheney.
Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002–well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion–its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.
So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney’s office that their detainee “was compliant” (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.
So, let’s make sure that when we’re discussing the pros and cons of state-sponsored torture, we use real-world scenarios. It’s not (only) a question of whether we would be willing to turn a blind eye to government officials using torture to uncover the details of a ticking-bomb plot and save thousands of innocents. It’s a question of whether we would be willing to turn a blind eye to government officials using torture to extract false confessions of a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq in order to build political support for an invasion.
Are those really the sort of ends you want to use to justify these particular means?
And from Nancy Pelosi, who apparently is fighting back against those seeking to implicate her: At every step of the way, the administration was misleading the Congress.
I’m not at all sure I trust Pelosi’s claims of innocence here. I think we need to get the facts out into the open about just who said what (and who did what), when. And it seems increasingly likely to me that eventually we’re going to get some approximation of that. Not fast enough to make me happy. But eventually.