Fantasy is no substitute for analysis

Jefferey Miron provides an example of improper assumption and trying to make a case by fantasizing reality.

Yet the case for torture is not convincing. The crucial issue is that the public has zero evidence that torture has in fact reduced terrorism. Those who defend torture have claimed it helps foil terrorist plots, but they have not provided hard data.

The issue here is the effervescent definition of “hard data” in a social and psychological context. The report recently released is an adult measure of the “hard data” that does not attempt to confuse correlation with causation. It understands the sample size was very small and that the cause of noted changes in behavior could not be determined in the same manner as measuring the length of a board. It should also be noted that the CIA does not engage in the sort of behavior that Miron envisions:

If the CIA had convincingly foiled terrorists acts based on information from harsh interrogations, the temptation to shout it from the highest rooftops would have been overwhelming.

There is also the presumption that the ‘torture techniques’ involved “imposing pain, suffering, and even the risk of death” and it is very clear from the reports and investigations that this was not the case as a matter of policy.

Miron’s conclusion is that it was the interrogation techniques that created an “inflaming antipathy to the U.S” and that there were “no benefits” resulting from the efforts. Neither hold water in the real world but both show the degree and extent to which some go these days to pursue their fantasies and desires.

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