WHY was the Bush administration so eager to torture. Was it really afraid of 24 style ticking time bombs?
Um. No. They wanted to start a war with Iraq. And they needed justification for it.
The administration had already decided, early on, to attack Iraq: all that was needed was "proof" of Saddam Hussein’s connection to the 9/11 attacks – and they didn’t care how they got it. In a 2009 interview with the McClatchy news agency, a former highly-placed former US intelligence officer said:
"[F]or most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld were also demanding proof of the links between al-Qaeda and Iraq. … There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder."
As Patrick Cockburn points out in the Independent, detainees were subjected to the worst torture "in the run-up to the war in 2003, suggesting that rather than preventing further action by al-Qaeda, the US administration was intent on justifying the invasion of Iraq. One prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, who was wrongly thought to be an al-Qaeda leader by his interrogators, was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in March 2003. The first questions asked of the latter after he was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, were all about Iraq and not about forthcoming al-Qaeda attacks, according to The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan." The book also relates how Cheney’s office wanted to waterboard a top Iraqi official to get him to "verify" the alleged Iraqi connection to al-Qaeda.
So the even larger crime than the torture and imprisoning for over a decade of many people who'd just been turned in by locals to collect a bounty or to settle a private score is that the false "intelligence" gained from the torture was used to (re)start a war and kill in the neighborhood of a million people.
So while they resort to Jack Bauer torture porn situations to justify it, the torture that occurred was to extract a specific, pre-determined, response.
The joy of being the hyper-power is never having to say you're sorry, I guess. Destroying infrastructure so that people die from lack of sanitation, imposing sanctions which killed a half-million people (mostly children and the aged), all to "encourage" the people to rise up and throw off someone who previously was a US stooge... What guilt do the folks in D.C. bear from enabling and encouraging the 8 year war of aggression by Iraq on Iran? About 300,000 civilians killed. Many more soldiers. About $1 trillion in destruction.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Whose sons are the warmongers?