Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Left-wing Nonsense about Torture and Iraq

Assorted left-wing blogs are pushing a conspiracy-theory that the Bush administration was torturing terrorists in order to create a false link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Their child-like attachment to this fantasy isn't at all surprising. Left-wingers have long pretended that Bush pushed a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that this was a major part of how the administration "deceived" the public into supporting the Iraq War. The huge list of actual reasons for war wasn't enough. But leaving that aside, this latest theory is if anything even more illogical -- and that's saying a lot when we are talking about the left. 

Obviously the Bush administration was interested in possible connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. There would be no reason not to question prisoners about that issue. And yes, if such a connection could have been established, it would have greatly strengthened the Bush case against Iraq. Left-wingers look at that, jump on a few unsubstantiated allegations, combine them with their intense belief that the Bush administration was pure evil, and come up with a conspiracy theory. But there's one slight problem: no such connection between Saddam & Al Qaeda was established. Were the conspiracy theory actually true, the Bush administration could easily have created a strong Saddam-Al Qaeda link. Even the most clueless left-wingers know that torture is quite effective at forcing confessions. If the Bush administration were the evil entity the left thinks that is was -- a so-called "torture regime," it could have tortured confessions of an Al Qaeda-Iraq link out of plenty of prisoners. It could have used those statements as proof of a connection, and actually (rather than in the minds of leftists) sold the war against Iraq as a war against Al Qaeda too.

But of course that didn't happen. The Bush administration did not torture false confessions of a Saddam-Al Qaeda link from prisoners. It didn't happen because U.S. interrogations were done in order to extract information thought necessary to protect the country. Most rational people understand that, whether they agree with the interrogation methods or not. But much of the left is completely irrational when it comes to anything involving the Bush administration, and has been for years.


  1. Just want to get this straight. You think that the Bush administration did not push a Hussein-Al Qaeda link in order to promote the necessity of invading Iraq.

    Or is your position more subtle? They just pushed it a little bit? Or they pushed it, but didn't use torture to push it?

  2. "Just want to get this straight. You think that the Bush administration did not push a Hussein-Al Qaeda link in order to promote the necessity of invading Iraq."

    Only in a very minor way, because there was little hard evidence of such a link. The supposed threat of WMD in the hands of Saddam was the single greatest justification used by the Bush administration for war. The issue of possible ties to Al Qaeda was trivial compared to WMD. Anyone paying attention could see that an Al Qaeda - Saddam link was extremely tenuous at best, whereas the Bush administration presented Iraqi WMD as an indisputable "slam dunk."

    And I'm only talking about the Bush administration, not what some people who supported the war might have believed. Many people are always willing to jump to unwarranted conclusions.

    But the main issue here is the torture for a link conspiracy theory. Five or six Al Qaeda members on record categorically spelling out links between their organization and Saddam would have changed things dramatically. But of course that didn't happen.