Saturday, April 25, 2009

It all needs to be on the table

Jerry Pournelle has written on what he calls the "Voodoo sciences", and the popular confusion between data and evidence.  Both sides on the interrogation debate are offering their evidence supporting their conclusions.  If we're going to have an honest inquiry, we need all the information on the table, not just whatever evidence happens to support your preferred side.

In the debate that has erupted on enhanced interrogation techniques since Barack Obama released the OLC memos, we have demanded an honest debate with all of the information on the table.  I've linked to the CIA standing by its action and the results, Dennis Blair's memo to Obama (which Obama had redacted to water down) calling the interrogations successful, and Pete Hoekstra's demand to get the Congressional briefings released to show the approval from key Democrats and Republicans.

To get the whole story, though, everything should be on the table — including personal testimony from a man who was present at some of the interrogations.  Ali Soufan represented the FBI in the Abu Zubaydah interrogations, and he objected to it during the interrogations and afterwards as well.  Soufan explains that he felt they could get the necessary information from Zubaydah without waterboarding (via Howard Kurtz):

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