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Torture Boosts Terrorism, or the Power of Playing Nice

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

Jul 31, 2020
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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 Storyreports, a new studyby James Walsh and James Piazza of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, forthcoming in , 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/Slantpoints 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.”
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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