The architects of the Bush Justice Department’s “Torture Memos” have wasted little time in claiming that their endorsement of torture helped pave the way for the successful assault on Osama bin Laden’s final hiding place in Pakistan.
Among them was John Yoo, a former Justice Department official who wrote secret legal memorandums justifying brutal interrogations. “President Obama can take credit, rightfully, for the success today,” Mr. Yoo wrote Monday in National Review, “but he owes it to the tough decisions taken by the Bush administration.”
Many — including Alliance for Justice — have called for Yoo to face professional and legal consequences for his twisting of the law to justify the Bush Administration’s use of torture. It’s hardly surprising that Yoo would take this opportunity to rush to his own defense.
However, the New York Times reports that “harsh interrogations played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out.”
And none other than former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated:
It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.
As he was when he authored the Torture Memos, John Yoo is wrong about the use of torture in finding Osama bin Laden. He and other torture apologists saw this instance as their last, best hope for justifying the ethically and morally repulsive policies of torture, but their arguments fall flat on basic facts and basic morality.
Click here to read the New York Times story on the revived torture debate and the intelligence used to track bin Laden.