Torture Boosts Terrorism, or the Power of Playing Nice

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

This probably won’t come as a huge surprise to most readers, but since it still might to former Vice President Dick Cheney or former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both of who’ve been going around asserting that the Bush administration’s torture and abuse tactics as have saved America from another terrorist attack, it seems worth a post.

As the Raw Story reports, a new study by James Walsh and James Piazza of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, analyzes the influence of human rights abuses on terrorism, and finds that countries’ respect for “physical integrity rights” correlates with a reduced incidence of terrorist attacks. Their hypothesis is that physical abuse makes it more, rather than less, difficult for authorities to gather reliable information about terrorists, and therefore makes it more difficult for authorities to thwart an attack before it occurs.

Although as Ryan Sager at True/Slant points out, their study proves correlation, not causation, it’s still something the Sunday talk-show hosts might want to point out to Cheney the next times he makes his case that torture works and President Obama’s commitment to end it will lead directly to the next attack on U.S soil.

Instead, as James Walsh, one of the study’s authors puts it: The study “suggests that a surprisingly easy and morally unambiguous counterterrorism strategy is to be nice to people. Being mean (like, say, torturing) seems to annoy some victims, who go on to become or serve as examples to new terrorists.”


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Torture boosts terrorism « Later On
Pingback posted May 11, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

[...] in Terrorism, Torture at 1:10 pm by LeisureGuy Daphne Eviatar of the Washington Independent: This probably won’t come as a huge surprise to most readers, but since it still might to former [...]

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