In case you haven't seen PZ's link to this already, Martin Robbins explains that U.S. intelligence services concluded long ago that torture is not an effective tool of intelligence. Like the U.S. Army Field Manual says,
The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor. condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. However, the use of force is not to be confused with psychological ploys, verbal trickery, or other nonviolent and noncoercive ruses used by the interrogator in questioning hesitant or uncooperative sources.So the CIA went out and paid $80 million (yep, no typo) to two psychologists to design a program of torture (in which they also gleefully participated, by the way). Why? We can speculate, but what is not in question at all is that:
The psychological techniques and principles outlined should neither be confused with, nor construed to be synonymous with, unauthorized techniques such as brainwashing, mental torture, or any other form of mental coercion to include drugs. These techniques and principles are intended to serve as guides in obtaining the willing cooperation of a source. The absence of threats in interrogation is intentional, as their enforcement and use normally constitute violations of international law and may result in prosecution under the UCMJ.
Additionally, the inability to carry out a threat of violence or force renders an interrogator ineffective should the source challenge the threat. Consequently, from both legal and moral viewpoints, the restrictions established by international law, agreements, and customs render threats of force, violence, and deprivation useless as interrogation techniques.
- It was illegal under United States statutes.
- It was a violation of international treaties - which also obligate the U.S. to prosecute the perpetrators.
- It was predictably useless in producing useful information.
- It demonstrably did not produce any useful information. (You don't have to take my word for it.)
I could go on and on but the point is made. That we are even having a debate about this proves that we are a sick society.