At the moment, I’m not discussing the morality of “torture.” Rather, I’m examining the oft-stated claim that torture doesn’t work.
John McCain: Torture Worked on Me
Sen. John McCain is leading the charge against so-called "torture" techniques allegedly used by U.S. interrogators, insisting that practices like sleep deprivation and withholding medical attention are not only brutal - they simply don't work to persuade terrorist suspects to give accurate information.
Nearly forty years ago, however - when McCain was held captive in a North Vietnamese prison camp - some of the same techniques were used on him. And - as McCain has publicly admitted at least twice - the torture worked!
In his 1999 autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers," McCain describes how he was severely injured when his plane was shot down over Hanoi - and how his North Vietnamese interrogators used his injuries to extract information.
"Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I did not cooperate," he wrote.
"I thought they were bluffing and refused to provide any information beyond my name, rank and serial number, and date of birth. They knocked me around a little to force my cooperation."
The punishment finally worked, McCain said. "Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant."
Is U.S. Surrendering Technique That Extracted Vital Intel From 9/11 Mastermind?
Is the U.S. government giving up the interrogation technique that extracted vital intelligence from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
On Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor" on September 20, Brian Ross, chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, reported that a tough interrogation technique called "waterboarding" had been used by the Central Intelligence Agency to break Mohammed, inducing him to surrender "very valuable" information.
Speaking of 14 "high-value" al Qaeda targets subjected to harsh interrogation practices by the CIA, Fox News's Bill O'Reilly asked Ross, "Now, the waterboarding broke all these guys?"
"Not in every case," said Ross. "Some broke before [it] even got to that point."
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed held out the longest, according to Ross. "About two and a half minutes [of waterboarding], according to our sources," he told O'Reilly.
In some cases, said Ross, "the material that has been given [by the terrorists subjected to harsh tactics] has not been accurate, has been essentially to stop the torture."
But Mohammed did provide accurate information. "In the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," said Ross, "the information was very valuable, particularly names and addresses of people who were involved with al Qaeda in this country and in Europe. And in one particular plot, which would involve an airline attack on the tallest building in Los Angeles, known as the Liberty Tower."