To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.~ Ayn Rand
The CIA did not employ adequately trained and vetted personnel. The CIA deployed individuals without relevant training or experience. CIA also deployed officers who had documented personal and professional problems of a serious nature—including histories of violence and abusive treatment of others—that should have called into question their employment, let alone their suitability to participate in the sensitive CIA program.
The moral significance of this argument is that a calibrated approach to torture would be evidence of a morally serious purpose, as opposed to anything from boredom and incompetence to sadism. Add to that a sincere—though misguided—belief in torture’s effectiveness, and you just might wriggle out of a criminal charge, claiming a lack of criminal intent.
As the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on torture (released over five years ago, in far less redacted form than tomorrow’s summary will be) makes clear, the Bush regime embraced torture not for “intelligence” but for “exploitation.” In December 2001, when DOD first started searching for what would become torture, it was explicitly looking for “exploitation.”
In May 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official — whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time — was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.
Would you find it disturbing to realize that your outrage on these side issues has served as a smoke screen for what could easily be described as the most dangerous geopolitical escalation in human history? The Trump administration is stoking tension on multiple fronts, inviting confrontations which will directly and indirectly involve Russia via Syria, Iran, China and North Korea. The stakes are nuclear and Trump is holding the keys. He has already done a 180 on his anti-war campaign positions, he and his cabinet have commenced saber rattling in earnest, indicating that “steps were already underway” to take down Assad, and the left is almost daring him to pull the trigger.