They were looking for a tool and decided this would work -- but as the article in the Times shows, the people involved in devising the program -- psychologists -- really had no real understanding of interrogations, and how to discern whether they worked or not. They were going on theory, theory that is suspect.
In a series of high-level meetings in 2002, without a single dissent from cabinet members or lawmakers, the United States for the first time officially embraced the brutal methods of interrogation it had always condemned.This extraordinary consensus was possible, an examination by The New York Times shows, largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials who were pushing the program, not the senior aides to President George W. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.
Thus, while I'm not sure it makes sense to prosecute CIA interrogators operating under legal guidelines from the Justice Department, and apparently approved by the Cabinet, and which received little negative comments from Congressional oversight authorities, I do believe there is the need to investigate how these decisions were made, and how they could have been made without any exploration of their origins, their usefulness, or their morality. What we have here is a process devised without thought, without consideration, and with great hurry.
Today, our nation's credibility suffers because of this -- and it would appear that a whole lot of people, many of whom probably want to wash their hands of this affair, will have egg on their faces.
An investigation that will make sure that such things don't happen in the future is very much needed. And likely some people will take a fall for this, especially since President Obama is more open now to such an investigation. But the point is: How can our government make decisions with so little thought?