... real power is always something far greater than military power alone. A balance of power is not a balance of military power alone: it is, rather, a balance in which military power is one element. Even in its crudest aspect, power represents a subtle and intimate combination of force and consent. No stable government has ever existed, and no empire has ever become established, except with an immensely preponderant measure of consent on the part of those who were its subjects. That consent may be a half-grudging consent; it may be a consent based in part on awe of superior force; it may represent love, or respect, or fear, or a combination of the three. Consent, in any case, is the essential ingredient in stable power--more so than physical force, of which the most efficient and economical use is to increase consent.
By using physical force in such a way as alienates consent, one constantly increases the requirements of physical force to replace the consent that has been alienated. A vicious spiral develops that, continued, ends in the collapse of power. If the Government in Washington had undertaken to use the atomic bomb to control the world it would surely have ended by incurring the fanatical hostility of the world's peoples, with incalculable consequences. It would have found itself trying to dominate the world by terror alone; it would have found itself driven to ever greater extremes of ruthlessness; and the requirements of a totally ruthless policy would, at last, have compelled it to establish a tyranny over the American people as well as over the rest of mankind. At some point early in this progress, however, it would have fallen and been replaced.
I have asserted that our policy of cruelty has harmed our nation's legal, foreign policy, and national security interests. Let's examine how it has done so and what the damage has been. ...
Cruelty created a deep legal fissure between ourselves and our traditional allies, because none of them would follow the United States into the swamp of cruelty. And cruelty has exposed those U.S. policymakers and officials engaged in the practice to potential civil and criminal liability overseas. It has engendered a probability that litigation and prosecution overseas targeting U.S. officials will complicate our international relations for years to come. ...
Our use of the term "war" should not confuse us into thinking that this conflict will be won primarily by military means. The geographic dispersion of our enemies, the difficulty in locating them, and the underlying ideological nature of our adversaries' actions—all point to a conflict in which our military actions must necessarily be subordinated to our political strategy.
This political strategy should be geared to building and maintaining large, unified alliances capable of cooperating across this spectrum of conflict. We will not be able to build this alliance unless we are able to articulate a set of consistent political objectives, and prosecute the war using methods consistent with these objectives. We will not be able to build the alliance either, unless we construct a common legal architecture with our traditional allies. ...
Almost every European politician who sought to ally himself and his country with the United States in the war on terror incurred a political penalty—or experienced political difficulties, as Blair and Aznar demonstrated—as a result of that allegiance. And, because cruel treatment of prisoners constituted a criminal act in every European jurisdiction, there must be few European government officials, including military intelligence or police officials, who do not ask themselves at some point whether cooperating with the United States in the war on terror might not make them accomplices or abettors in criminal activity or expose them to civil liability.
All of these factors contributed to the difficulties our nation has experienced in forging the strongest possible alliance in this war. Because this is so, we consequently weakened our defenses. Whatever intelligence we obtain through the use of harsh interrogation tactics, on the whole these policies and practices greatly damaged our overall effectiveness and impaired our military intelligence capabilities in the war on terror.
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