The bi-partisan report of the Senate Armed Services Committee concludes
that the torture (or "enhanced interrogation techniques") of suspected terrorists proved ineffective. That's not
to say torture failed to break people down. Rather, it failed to produce reliable information. Someone subject to physical
or psychological coercion will often tell his interrogators whatever he thinks they want to hear. False confessions result.
The committee report is welcome, but it teaches lessons that were long known.
The number of DNA exonerations of people convicted of crimes has reached
225. And, the Innocence Project reports, roughly one fourth had confessed or pled guilty. Anyone who doubts the reality
of false confessions should chew on those numbers.
An end to American policy of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against
suspected terrorists is at hand. When President-elect Obama was a state legislator in Illinois, he led the fight for mandatory
videotaping of interrogations. This is a man who understands the phenomenon of false confessions.