“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Army psychiatrist Maj. Paul Burney is quoted in the Senate report as saying about Guantánamo. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
Apparently, one of the individuals applying pressure for results was then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a major advocate of the Iraq invasion. Wolfowitz called the man in charge of Guantánamo at the time, Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey. Wolfowitz called “to express concerns about the insufficient intelligence production” at Guantánamo, the report says. Wolfowitz suggested the use of more aggressive interrogation techniques. The report cites the Guantánamo interrogation chief at that time, David Becker, as the source of this information about Wolfowitz. Dunlavey, however, told the Senate investigators he could not recall the Wolfowitz call.
So they tortured Gitmo detainees to get information, which turned out to be false, to build support for a war they had already made up their mind they would wage.
And keep in mind, these decisions were made by political appointees. Not JAGs, not military generals, not even veteran CIA agents (most people in all three positions actually opposed these policies). They were made by neocon warmongers with little to no actual military or interrogation experience who hadn’t the slightest idea what they were doing.
These people belong in a prison cell. To excuse them is to say that no abuse of power should be punishable so long as you can come up with some tortured justification about how you were only trying to protect the country.
I fully agree.