The Corner

A High Price

David Rivkin’s reaction to the memo release:

The release of these memos comes at a high price.  By describing in great detail the most assertive set of interrogation techniques that the United States has ever used –  having determined them after a great deal of reflection and analysis to be legal — we have rendered them essentially unusable in the future.  This is precisely because these techniques were not torture, did not feature brute force and worked primarily because of their psychological dimension.  Now, having been exposed, these techniques would be studied by our enemies, who will then train their operatives to withstand them.

However, while this disclosure came at a great price, it also provides a great benefit.  The just-released OLC legal memoranda are well-written, and feature careful and nuanced legal analysis.  They weave together the facts and the law.  They are grounded in real world experience, because nine out of ten techniques, used against high-value detainees, were also used over a period of many years in SERE training courses, with thousands and thousands of American participants.  This data is analyzed in great detail to establish that the use of these techniques does not inflict either physical or psychological damage.   

The conclusions OLC memos reach — that the specific interrogation techniques used by the CIA did not constitute torture — are eminently reasonable.  To any fair-minded observer, these memoranda definitively establish that the Bush Administration did not engage in torture.  In short, these memos go a long way towards rebutting shrill and unfair attacks on the integrity of Bush Administration officials, and, more generally, on America’s honor.”

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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