Two trends emerge from the analysis:
- First, torture has no identifiable systematic association with decreases in insurgent perpetrated killings.
- Second, torture is shown to be robustly associated with increased killings perpetrated by counterinsurgents.
Such evidence should lend pause to those who would consider employing torture, at least within the context of an insurgency. Justifications for torture do not rest on the contention that engaging in torture will reveal information, but on arguments that engaging in torture will allow state agents to somehow stop challengers from engaging in violence. If torture cannot produce discernable effects on insurgent violence then any immediate effects by torture, including the revelation (or non-revelation) of information, are of little consequence.
In this case, not only did torture display no relation to decreases in killings perpetrated by insurgents, but it had a somewhat pathological quality of being strongly associated with increases in other forms of counter-insurgent violence. The evidence suggests that insurgents were able to outmaneuver the forces employing torture, for example by adapting their organizations and strategies in response to torture or by rallying popular support against the use of torture. Subsequent counter-insurgent strategies appear to have been far less variable. The use of torture was strongly associated with increases in killings committed by counterinsurgents in the locality where torture took place as well, in some cases, in surrounding areas.