Inhumane Interrogation

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The planning, authorization, or carrying out of torture is, by law, a war crime.  Interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, hypothermia and sleep-deprivation are illegal, internationally and domestically.  However, this does not stop the CIA from using these methods.  After the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the idea of using torture to elicit information from a hostage was a lively topic.  It was often argued that if the information could save many lives, then it would be worth it to torture these people. While it has sometimes led to saving lives, enhanced interrogation has no proof saying that it works.  Some studies say that it is peaceful interrogation methods that work the best.  This could be because of a lack of legitimate information preceding the torture, or it could be because enhanced interrogation is an inefficient method.

It is an innate desire for human beings to shy away from any pain.  It is by this we can conclude that vile interrogation techniques are ineffective, as the people being tortured will very likely withdraw, and not tell the truth.

This is not an article that is entirely anti-interrogation.  I understand that interrogation is, often times a necessary evil.  This is an article that displays my disapproval of how the Bush administration handled it.  I know that the tensions and emotions were incredibly high after the attack on the World Trade Center.  However, that tragedy does not justify the inhumane torture that was regularly used on innocent people.  They often went off of limited and enigmatic information.  When someone, especially such a high-ranking official, is dealing with such a serious and methodical process such as enhanced interrogation, that person has to be sure that the person enduring the torture has the desired information.  If not, then the process was entirely frivolous, and extremely inhumane.

I was discussing this topic with a friend of mine, and he told me that he would sooner torture 100 suspected terrorists than let five American citizens die.  This is an understandable viewpoint.  By nature, we feel closer to Americans, and we often value their lives over the lives of others.  But there is something that needs to be understood in this country.  Killing, violence, torture and all alike are morally wrong by our standards.  Before terrorism was a major issue we killed those that killed, we tortured those that tortured, and we harmed those that harmed.  I understand that this is an “eye for an eye” policy, and most nations implement this.  However, it has become us torturing and/or killing people that might have killed or that may kill in the future.  It has even devolved to us torturing people that might know something about a potential killing.  What has happened to the humanity we once held so dearly?  When you are 50% sure on something, the common response is to wait for more information.  However, so often we have rushed into the realm of torture based off of little information.

I am about to make a bold and assertive claim.  I don’t think we do this because we actually believe that it will save lives.  I believe we torture so ineffectively and brutally because of pent-up aggression we hold for terrorists.  If there is a chance that a person may be a terrorist, it boils our blood.  A topic as serious as torture requires not only more legitimate information, but also it needs to be less brutal.  Extreme and barbaric methods only make it less likely to receive proper information.  In fact, it could be argued that efficacy is best achieved through the use of humane methods.  Some Middle Eastern countries reported that interrogating a terrorist suspect worked best when they had a local Muslim religious leader speak to the man.

I have always been someone that pushed for the basic rights of all sentient beings on this planet.  As our Political system has grown and flourished, interrogation has become a necessity.  With the ever-changing nature of humans, we MUST maintain our humanity.  When one acts against someone else in a harmful way, we cannot simply abandon our inherent moral values.  If we do that, we lose our credibility.  If we do that, we become more barbaric.  If we do that, we are no better than the terrorists that try to harm us.  That is why it is absolutely imperative that we learn from all the mistakes that the Bush administration made in the realm of interrogation, and look towards a more reasonable and logical future.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.

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