In regards to CIA torture, news reports mostly describe how terrible those measures are, roundly decrying American abuse of human rights and then end with this conclusion: “Obama has expressed the desire to end torture, leaving this dark and painful page of history behind.” How magnanimous.
The problem: If torturing a few terrorists meant saving the lives of thousands of Americans, would you approve that as the lesser of two evils? Or are there really those who are so naive as to believe that the Bush administration was so evil that it abused people for the fun of it?
The issue’s blind spot is that we observe only the torture practices while overlooking its results. According to a 2005 report in the “Washington Post,” the CIA believed that enhanced interrogation techniques successfully acquired intelligence that thwarted a terrorist plan to hijack a plane from the Middle East and attack Los Angeles’ Library Tower. Also, in recent years the CIA has recently acquired thousands of important intelligence reports which have not yet been made public.
The CIA’s Questioning Worked
Reactions in the Congress were thus: Democrat Nancy Pelosi was initially angered and called for a Truth Committe to investigate; however, fellow Democrat Harry Reid of the Senate said this was unnecessary. Concurrently, Republican John Boehner said that after 9/11, both parties have cooperated to fight terrorism, and that not only did Pelosi and other Democratic leaders know about torture as early as 2002, they supported it. Yesterday Pelosi changed her tone, saying the Bush administration had indeed mentioned torture to her, but that she didn’t know when it had begun, and that she “was only notified, not asked her opinion.” Of course some say that’s an excuse.
I have some other unanswered questions:
Do you think that a terrorist who sees a declassified CIA report is going to believe in “American honesty” and stop attacking America, or are they going learn the CIA’s tricks, making them even more technologically-advanced? In other words, is the declassification of these memos making America safer? If there’s another terrorist attack, will the declassification of these memos be indirectly responsible? The last, and most important question: Why does the American government have to declassify CIA torture reports at this time? What if they don’t? And if they must do so, then why only in part?
Internet denizens, your thoughts?
Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/20/AR2009042002818.html