One of the main excuses used to justify torture is that the people being tortured were bloodthirsty terrorists, who would do far worse to us if we didn't stop them.
Is that true?
Judge for yourself:
- The number two man at the State Department under Colin Powell, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, says that many of those being held at Guantanamo Bay were innocent, and that top Bush administration officials knew that they were innocent (see this and this)
- The the commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Janis Karpinski, estimates that 90% of detainees in the prison were innocent
- Many of the those tortured in the "war on terror" were apparently innocent farmers, villagers, or those against whom neighbors held a grudge (Iraqis received a nice cash reward from the U.S. government for turning people in as suspected terrorists) (see especially this movie)
Postscript: One commentator wrote:Is he right?
Well, given that top experts say that torture doesn't work and that it reduces national security, torture is not really justifiable.
Moreover, I don't know whether any of them were guilty or not. Some might have been guilty, although some were crazy to start with and others were tortured into saying false things (see this and this). So how can we be sure if any were guilty in the absence of substantial corroborating evidence from unbiased third party witnesses?