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October 16, 2009

Head Of MI-5: Actually, "Torture" Does Work And It Saved Lives

Not just 'enhanced interrogation techniques' but apparently the hardcore old school stuff as well.

(Jonathan) Evans, the director-general of MI5, said British lives had been saved as a direct result of intelligence received from overseas agencies in the years following the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Speaking on Thursday night at a private event at Bristol University to mark MI5's centenary, he said they would have been "derelict in our duty" if they had not worked with foreign agencies in countering the threat from al-Qaeda.

...He stressed that it was not "just a theoretical issue" as al-Qaeda had actually laid plans for further terrorist outrages in the wake of the attacks on the twin towers in New York.

"Details of some of these plans came to light through the interrogation of detainees by other countries, including the US, in the period after 9/11; subsequent investigation on the ground, including in the UK, substantiated these claims," he said.

"Such intelligence was of the utmost importance to the safety and security of the UK. It has saved British lives. Many attacks have been stopped as a result of effective international intelligence co-operation since 9/11."

While there are certainly some lines we should not cross, I support what the US did in the aftermath of 9/11. Some of it was ugly but it was necessary. I don't think every schmuck we capture should be strapped down and waterboarded (and they weren't) but for guys like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who had tactical and systemic information? Yeah, everyday and twice on Sunday if it helps.

Evans makes it clear that the Brits would never dirty their hands in this way but are happy to reap the benefits of others who are willing to make the hard decisions. That's juvenile at best, cowardly at worst but at least he's honest that someone had to do it and that, despite what liberal say, it worked.

You'd think this will put an end to the 'torture never works' argument but it won't. Opponents of the Bush administration are reduced to having to lie about what was gained and the lives saved over the years. Once you remove the argument about these techniques not working, all opponents have left is the reality of their position... 'we're willing to let people die to keep our moral vanity intact'. That's not going to convince too many people, so they'll keep lying.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's a principled argument to be made against torture and even enhanced interrogation techniques. I just wish people would make them and be honest about the price they are willing to pay to see their beliefs put into action. Instead most of them would rather hide behind the lie that these techniques don't work.

Via the new center of evil in the world, KeepAmericaSafe

Added: Strangely, Andrew Sullivan has had nothing to say about Evans on his blog today. It's odd because last I heard, Sullivan is a subject of the UK, so you'd think this might interest him.

Oh and the "last I heard" about Sully being a subject of Her British Majesty was when he was using his political connections to get his pot bust dismissed so as not to interfere with his immigration petition (a subject I don't think he's addressed on his blog either).

Why so quiet Sully?


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posted by DrewM. at 01:13 PM

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