Because freedom can't protect itself
"If the military knew these interrogation tactics elicited false confessions and useless information, then why bother?"
Because they don’t "elicited false confessions and useless information". Sure, after being water boarded KSM might have said anything, but he would have said anything even if less harsh tactics were used. Any information gathered during any type of interrogation is not taken at face value. Rather it is judged and validated against known information and used to either corroborate what is already suspected or known and used as leads on new information gotten via interrogations.
The "false confessions" of US POW's was used primarily for propaganda purposes and not intelligence value.
Not that something like facts should stand in the way of a good ACLU rant.
The SERE school was founded after Vietnam by Colonel Nick Rowe, a Special Forces officer that had spent five years in captivity from 1963 to 1968.
He created the school not so much because of concern about false confessions, but because he wanted to teach future Special Forces soldiers how to cope with the methods of interrogation that would be used against them.
The SERE school has done a lot of good in training soldiers how to resist interrogation and find methods of escape, however, those same methods should not be used against prisoners in our custody.
July 2nd, 2008 at 6:35 pm
I second this as a graduate of the Navy's SERE school I can attest to the valuable knowledge attained from this course. It was designed to give Pilots, Aircrews, Special Forces units an idea of what to expect and how to deal with he possibility of being caught behind enemy lines and imprisonment. The main concepts I took away is that every man has a breaking point and no information obtained under duress is valuable if it can't be verified. BTW I was waterboarded several times in the camp and I don't consider it painful or torture. But then again I was just an elisted grunt.
Torture is a very subjective term. What is unbearable to some is just a walk in the park for most. If you are weak you will fold under any type pressure put to bear upon you, if you are not them you will do well being a captive. If you want to know real torture, come see me, I know things that will really work, the first time.
Come on, Vern, Hancock wasn't _that_ bad.
Re the question asked at the end of this article, I would be remiss if I didn't share my blog entry civilliberty.about.com/b/2008/07/03/why-false-confessions-can-be-helpful.htm what the Bush administration's rationale might have been. Not an excuse, mind you, just a rationale.
Perhaps the author ought to stick to writing puff pieces about New Years eve parties since actual research into the origins of SERE training seem to be beyond her grasp.
DJ Rick's trust in his Leaders is touching. Of course we had a word for that in the 1930's. DJ is quite confident that They used torture to elicit false confessions for propaganda value, but We of course would never do such a thing -- We are only after getting Intelligence from Terrorists.
Sarah, in her haste to dismiss the blog post, obviously hasn't noticed, or bothered to read, the NYT story by Scott Shane that Suzanne Ito quoted and linked to. You know, the article with supporting documents and quotes and stuff. So she claims that Ito should "stick to puff pieces" and ignores the supporting evidence for Ito's post. Brilliant thinking, Sarah!
And of course, real interrogators -- from Col. John Rothrick (USAF ret.) Col. Stuart Herrington (USA) to Jack Cloonan (FBI special agent, OBL unit, 1996-2002), to the thirty US military officers (all with rank of Brigadier General or higher) who wrote a letter to Congress last December denouncing torture and advocating for the provision that all interrogations follow Army Field Manual procedures -- have all confirmed that torture is ineffective for obtaining real, accurate, timely, actionable intelligence.
But don't let that stop the DJ Ricks and Sarahs of the world.
As for why some in the administration would bother with torture when they know it's of negligible intelligence value but only elicits false confessions, the answer is simple. They want the false confessions.
Get breaking news on issues you care about
Help fight for our rights. Donate to the ACLU.
Sign up for the ACLU Action newsletter.
Chip in to help protect all of our rights and liberties.
© ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004
This is the website of the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation.
Learn more about these two components of the ACLU.