Law, Politics

Post of the month:

It turns out that the false information about Iraq’s supposedly training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons — information which the Administration continued to push after the Defense Intelligence Agency determined that the source of it was in no position to know — was extracted under torture. (Hat tip to Atrios for the pointer to this old Newsweek story.)

This illustrates the point that Hobbes made 350 years ago: even if you can stomach torture morally, the information it produces is generally worthless, since the person undergoing torture wants to say whatever will make the pain stop, regardless of its truth or falsity:

…what is in that case confessed tendeth to the ease of him that is tortured, not to the informing of the torturers, and therefore ought not to have the credit of a sufficient testimony.

(via Kevin Drum)

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