Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Should America Use Torture To Fight Terrorism?




As expected, former Bush Administration officials are taking credit for locating Osama Bin Laden. They claim that so-called enhanced interrogation methods helped the U.S. gather vital information used to track down the terrorist leader. Now, the debate over torture has been reignited.

As reported in the New York Times,

"Did brutal interrogations produce the crucial intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden?

"As intelligence officials disclosed the trail of evidence that led to the compound in Pakistan where Bin Laden was hiding, a chorus of Bush administration officials claimed vindication for their policy of “enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding."

"Among them was John Yoo, a former Justice Department official who wrote secret legal memorandums justifying brutal interrogations. “President Obama can take credit, rightfully, for the success today,” Mr. Yoo wrote Monday in National Review, “but he owes it to the tough decisions taken by the Bush administration.”

"But a closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out. One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations. But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier’s identity."

"The discussion of what led to Bin Laden’s demise has revived a national debate about torture that raged during the Bush years. The former president and many conservatives argued for years that force was necessary to persuade Qaeda operatives to talk. Human rights advocates, and Mr. Obama as he campaigned for office, said the tactics were torture, betraying American principles for little or nothing of value."


Should America use torture to fight terrorism? Please tell me what you think.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

2 comments:

  1. Although I neither have first-hand experience nor research to support this notion, I strongly suspect that since time immemorial, certain forces of EVERY state have used tactics which clearly constituted torture (no matter how defined) and shocked the conscience, although many (for various reasons) have chosen not to do so openly.

    However, that we live in a society capable of public introspection may be just good enough, for now, especially with other issues on our plate.
    It’s what helps form the “collective conscience” that all societies need, but do not have.

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