Borger: Debate rages about role of torture
May 4th, 2011
02:26 PM ET
12 years ago

Borger: Debate rages about role of torture

Editor's note: Gloria Borger is a senior political analyst for CNN, appearing regularly on CNN's "The Situation Room," "AC360°," "John King, USA" and "State of the Union."

Washington (CNN) - Osama bin Laden is dead, but the debate about torture lives on.

And the reason the controversy rages is obvious: The question of whether torture led, in one way or another, to bin Laden, according to intelligence and administration sources, is not clearly provable. Most of us don't know the entirety of the information given by the detainees who were waterboarded and those who were not. We don't know the exact sequence of events. And we don't know what information less high-value detainees provided (post-waterboarding) that could have given the CIA clues about how to get to bin Laden.


Filed under: Osama bin Laden • President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    And the GOP's sickening society-wide Millgram experiment continues unabated...

    May 4, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Torture? Why do you use the loaded word torture? These worhtless animals kept all of their body parts!

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as torture when it comes to these mass murders of innocent men, women and children. They SHOULD KNOW that if they do this stuff and we are fortunate enough to capture them alive, then they will be in for one hell of a ride on their way to hell. No tears should be shed for these mass murders.

    May 4, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Dick Cheney got his jollies watching waterboarding. He knows it was evil – just like he is. And Idiot Shrub went along with the desecration of the Gevena Accords. Arrest them both – we have a right to see them on trial. It's part of the mission!!

    May 4, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Tulsa

    As an American I believe we should be the example of how civilized society is lived. We can find anyone who harms not only us but any freedom loving people around the world.
    Torture is not who we are.
    Our intelligence community can find all the threads and pull them until the truth comes out. The special operations teams will carry out the orders of the POTUS with extreme predjudice. We can hold our heads high knowing we are not like our enemies, we are better only if we maintain the ethical high ground.
    It takes a real pussy to torture someone, but it takes a MAN to do things the right and ethical way.

    May 4, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. gt

    its like sausage .. no one want to see or hear...but it how the job gets done...not one ameriican life is worth not some one like boxer or franken crying about it....

    May 4, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. shawn

    Torture is Bush Cheyney ways of doing it! Obamas way is "Intel" Go figure? Nice Job Obama 2012!

    May 4, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Torture is illegal, ineffective, and only serves to diminish those who employ it. People being tortured will say anything, whatever they think will stop the torture. It's insane to think that 6-8 year old Information from someone being tortured would be reliable or accurate. If it was valid information 6-8 years ago, we might have captured or killed Bin Laden then. Well....except for the fact that, despite the torture, Bush did actually say that Bin Laden really didn't concern him much.

    May 4, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    This is settled law. Torture is illegal. The cons far outweight the pros. One sure sign of a quack is someone who cannot predict what result or effect their actions will have. A quick never considers consequences, it is always "try it and see what happens." It is the same with torturing someone. "This worked last time. Well. That didn't work, so let's try this. What else? Ah!"

    May 4, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    "It was their lies that alerted us,” that mean torture didn’t work smart people connect the right dots
    Torture debate is all about who get more credits shame
    Move on
    Pakistan has become a safe haven for violent extremism focus on Pakistan

    May 4, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    You support torture, you're aiding and abetting. you do torture, its a criminal act. Its a war crime. We hung Nazis for this.
    Listening to the GOP and their ilk is about as bad as listening to Willie Sutton on robbing banks. He got a jail sentence. These clowns need some stiff jail time.

    May 4, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Torture or waterboarding? Two different things. There is no role for torture in anything America does.
    But as far as waterboarding, the role is clear. When the information that can save American lives comes out, the waterboarding stops. See how that works?

    May 4, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. vet in texas

    I smell a history re-write. If this info was gotten from torture, then the financial crisis, BP spill, housing market collapse HAD to be because of deregulation. I'm all for giving credit where credit is due. I'd like to personally thank Condi, Rummy, and "the Vice" for all they have given America during their 8 years of service and 6 years of complete Republican control of the government from 2000-2006 ( a year before the meltdown where no legislation passed in that timeframe could have done all that damage). Wasn't all the evidence (videotapes, emails, memo's deleted? How cleverly convenient now).

    May 4, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. PalmReader

    A direct quote from Rumsfeld, May 2, 2011 ought to end the conversation Boerger is trying so hard to inflame her readers with:

    "It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment, and it was not water-boarding." Donald Rumsfeld May 2, 2011.

    Hey, GOPers. You can't have it both ways. If indeed information was obtained back in 2002, (and I have no reason to suppose it wasn't) why did Bush chose to ignore the information gleaned, shut down the unit created to find OBL, and continuously admit he didn't know where OBL was, or care, during the following 6 years of his Presidency?

    May 4, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Graham's statement gives us the best oportunity to understand what's going on here:

    “I’m afraid the decision made today by President Obama will unnecessarily prolong this debate.”

    Obvious Subtext: "because I and people like Jaberwocky Barbie don't intend to STFU about it"

    May 4, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Gale

    Yeah, don't be mean to those poor ole terrorists!! The ACLU will be after ya!!!

    May 4, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. cliff

    Sure...there is a debate on torture just like there is a debate on evolution or climate change. Let's be honest and report the truth – when one side has an ideology that conflicts with the prepondernace of evidence does not give them a legitimate argument. There is NO debate.

    May 4, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. A True Centrist

    Wow Gloria, this article is about as biased as I have read in a long time. I detest waterboarding but am big enough to admit I may have been wrong in this instance. Panetta in his interview clearly stated that they learned a great deal from the prisoners when using this technique. The only caveat he gave was that we may have learned the same thing using other techniques. Your article is clearly misleading...and clearly unprofessional. Do your job and report the news, don't put your own spin on it.

    Panetta was right, we could have learned the same thing using other methods, and I hope we try to do that moving forward, but administration officials basically came out and said these interviews gave us the key intel that ultimately led to Osama's death.

    May 4, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. DumbasRocks [R]s

    And we also don't know the consequences of all the FALSE information inevitably obtained during the torture sessions: how much money was wasted and how many American servicemen's lives were taken as a result of tracking down false leads? And how much of this wasted effort delayed and put at risk the core effort to track down bin Laden? How many years ago might bin Laden's brains have been splattered on some other wall, if we hadn't tortured false information out of every al queda slob that fell into our hands?

    May 4, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. l

    only way to get information from enemies such as these fanatics.
    you can't expect to get anything from them by asking nicely

    May 4, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. vic , nashville ,tn

    Rep Peter King interview remain me the “balloon boy”

    Again Wolf Blitzer did good job

    May 4, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Bob

    Gloria, Why don;t you tell us which administration you side with when it comes to interagations ?

    May 4, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. mikec1105

    well if the people who say waterboarding is where we got the info, all they have to do is show the tapes so we can see the wher it came from

    May 4, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |