A couple of recent FAIR Blog posts have dealt with apologists for torture: Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen and former CIA interrogator John Kiriakou, who misled ABC News about the effectiveness of waterboarding. What’s striking is how they both offer the same insight into why torture is attractive–it met their post-September 11 psychological needs.
Kiriakou told ABC (12/10/07): “At the time I was so angry and I wanted so much to help disrupt future attacks on the United States that I felt it was the only thing we could do.”
He sounds a lot like Cohen writing in the Post (4/28/09):
The horror of September 11 resides in me like a dormant pathogen. It took a long time before I could pass a New York fire station–the memorials still fresh–without tearing up. I vowed vengeance that day–yes, good Old Testament-style vengeance–and that ember glows within me still. I know that nothing Obama did this month about torture made America safer.
It doesn’t sound like it’s about making America safer, though, does it? It sounds like it’s about taking care of Richard Cohen’s deep psychic wounds. Does torture work–to make newspaper pundits feel better? That seems to be the real question on the table.