Anyone who still believes that what the CIA euphemistically calls enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) don't work needs to read this article in the Washington Post.
The anti-EIT absolutists (those who believe that EITs are always wrong and never justified) have pretty much lost the moral argument with the American people. Most of those who think about it would affirm that if their child's life could be saved by applying physical or psychological pain to those who threaten her then by all means have at it. Having failed to convince the American people that they are morally perverse for placing the well-being of their children above the well-being of a murderous thug the absolutists fall back on the argument that EITs don't work anyway and therefore should never be employed.
This argument has always carried with it more than a whiff of implausibility (after all, how do we know they don't work unless we use them?) The WaPo article, however, strongly suggests that they do indeed work. It turns out that Sheik Kalid Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, after having been subjected to milder forms of interrogation to no effect, was then allowed to experience the bracing effects of sleep deprivation and waterboarding after which he pretty much ratted out the entire al Qaeda network in the U.S. Here's one relevant section of the piece:
Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn bridge in New York." Cross-referencing material from different detainees, and leveraging information from one to extract more detail from another, the CIA and FBI went on to round up operatives both in the United States and abroad.
"Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals -- many of whom we had never heard of before -- that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary.
Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda's strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States.
All of this information and more saved countless lives, and it was only obtained because Mohammed's interrogators grew weary of politesse and decided to resort to measures calculated to more compellingly concentrate the minds of the terrorists. Of course, this won't matter to the absolutists who are apparently willing to sacrifice the lives of millions of innocents on the altar of their own narrow-minded, dogmatic concept of inviolable human rights.RLC