This weekend, former Vice President Cheney repeated his claim that torture “saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives.” Of those, like President Obama, who condemn torture as making America less safe, Cheney insisted, “in effect, we’re prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America.”
This evening on MSNBC, former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr., adopted many of Cheney’s right-wing talking points to defend torture, saying he was “not as outraged as some are about” what happened at Guantanamo. He suggested that he even would have voted to approve torture in order to “prevent the destruction of an American city”:
FORD: You have to remember when this was occurring. This is 2002, 2003. The country was in a different place, in a different space. And if you were to say to me, as an American, put aside my partisanship, that we have an opportunity to gain information that would prevent the destruction of an American city, to prevent killings in American cities, and we have to use certain techniques, I’m one of those Americans that would have voted a certain way, Chris. And that polling said it might have been torture, but I’m not as outraged.
Matthews was incredulous, telling Ford, “You are veering into Cheney country here.” He said Ford’s talking point about the destruction of an American city was “Cheney talk.” “That’s what he used to justify torture,” Matthews said.
The ticking-time-bomb scenario Ford seems to invoke is simply a “red herring” that “doesn’t happen” in the real world. And according to the interrogators themselves, torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah — the two Cheney most frequently cites as “proof” of torture’ effectiveness — provided no actionable intelligence.
ThinkProgress released an extensive report today, Why Bush’s ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Program Failed. Read the whole thing here, and leave your comments here.