Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did Waterboarding Work?

In the recent and shocking NYT piece about the torture methods used by the United States against terrorists, the former head of the CIA Michael Hayden insists that the methods used "worked." But what standard is that being compared against? Is there some sort of quotient that compares how much information is gathered from terrorists with various interrogation methods, and how much of that information turns out to be correct? If so, then let's hear the data. If not, then claiming that a program "worked" is outrageous, because Mr. Hayden is clearly too biased to make an objective judgment of the program's efficacy.

If what we really wanted was true information, we would have prediction markets. So what do we want?