Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-We all want to prevent mass destruction, terrorism, nuclear attacks, and whatever America fears. Preventing the aforementioned means having Intelligence at the right time. But how is this ‘Intelligence’ gathered? I’d say in more ways than one. Of late, America seemingly might be reincorporating or reinstituting the practice of torture.
Surely, it was banned by the Obama Administration for a great cause or reason, so why is it being reinstituted? Well, for the same reason America wants to prevent devastating acts such as terrorism – they need Intel.
I’m against torture and all forms of cruelty. There has to be boundaries. Why? For 3 apparent reasons. Torture is inhumane. What human in their right mind would sit for hours inflicting bodily pain and abuse to another fellow being? Definitely not a human or fellow man. Torture also hardens the heart. Yes, the person who’s meting out punishment actually becomes unresponsive to the feelings and sufferings of others. That sort of attitude actually creates serial killers. These persons are also delighted to see others undergo serious pain.
How would you view a parent who tortures his children for information? You’d probably call child services to have those children taken away. That parent would actually be viewed unfit for parenting and maybe do heavy jail time. The same applies to America’s image. If America tortures for Intelligence, its rulers can be likened to that unfit parent that needs to be thrown out. Why is the current president still president?
Owatonna, MN Correspondent– As an avowed pacifist and government-certified Conscientious Objector, I feel there is no place for torture anywhere in the world. It is especially abhorrent for governments to use torture in the pursuit of policy since torture used by individuals on other individuals that is not sanctioned by the government would result in immediate arrest and prosecution of the offending individual. A double standard like this should never be allowed and isn’t in many countries. Unfortunately, most world governments have concluded that the only way they can achieve national goals is through violence—be it war, forced detention, threats, torture, and other means of coercion and domination.
The subliminal message is that the world still has a survival-of-the-fittest mentality and only the stronger and more aggressive will prevail. Thus, torture becomes a tool used to help one side prevail in a war or other dispute.
If our government utilizes torture, it also sends the message that it can’t be trusted since it condemns torture used by other countries on our citizens, yet practices torture (usually in secret) on those who we claim to be our enemies. This duplicity undermines our faith in government and makes it harder for our leaders to gain support for their domestic agenda.
The strongest reason to ban torture is that it has never been proven to be effective in obtaining accurate information from prisoners. Claims of effectiveness have been made, but there exist no scientific studies that show any conclusive evidence. For that reason alone, torture should be banned from government policy. Better yet, why not decide that violence and aggression of any kind don’t ultimately achieve lasting peace? The proverbial stick hasn’t worked well through the course of human history. It’s time to try the proverbial carrot as a means of negotiating harmony among countries.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Torture may have to be reinstituted to extract information from Islamic terrorists trying to destroy America (and their own countries) with their radical mayhem. Many Americans seem to forget that terrorists don’t think like average Americans or understand our way of life and have to be dealt with through particular strategies in order to extract seriously critical information from them.
There is a strong case for increasing our defense standard, and returning to old ones, to identify, track and defeat future attacks on America. The minds and motives of terrorists trying to destroy America need to be dealt with in certain ways in order to deter and stop attacks, and if that means enhanced interrogation, then so be it.
Arguments against torture ignore reality. In the real world, debating the pros and cons, mostly cons, about enhanced interrogation is a waste of time. Americans need to face the facts that interrogation methods that deal with painful experiences almost always garner the necessary end results. When the safety of individuals and countries hangs in the balance, information has to be retrieved in every way possible. President Trump even strongly advocates “enhanced interrogation techniques” as a weapon in the fight against terrorism.
There is nothing wrong with using enhanced interrogation in the fight against terror. It is fruitless not to use it. No man is beyond being broken and when lives are on the line, the rights of terrorists are cancelled out and rules of the Geneva Convention are out the window as well. America is fighting opponents that will never follow or respect such rules anyway and will jump at the chance to destroy the lives of innocent civilians. They are barbarians and must be dealt with as such.
Enhanced interrogation provides critical intelligence, and time can be of the essence when it comes to extracting information. Whether locating hostages, battle plans, leader locations, contact points, financial networks and more, torture is usually the one way of gaining detailed information quickly. Terrorists will never give up their quest for domination and butchery, and since they don’t easily share their plans, enhanced interrogation is the one tool that helps intelligence experts acquire the information they need to stop an imminent attack.
Those against enhanced interrogation can choose to ignore the real threat terrorism poses to America and the rest of the world, and they can continue to say that torture doesn’t work and that those in intelligence are no better than those they are interrogating, but in the real world, enhanced interrogation works. It worked in locating bin Laden and helped avoid another 9/11 and it will continue to work to rid the world of Islamic terror. We must protect ourselves or our culture and society will not survive.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Proponents of using torture to extract information from prisoners often use “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” a quote from famous Republican failed presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. To their minds, any sort of conduct on the part of our enforcement agencies that leads to obtaining actionable information from terror suspects is justified.
(Those words weren’t written by Goldwater, by the way, but by his anarchist speechwriter Karl Hess. So those granting torture power to the government are actually quoting an anarchist…irony rarely gets so thick.)
The simple fact, according to just about every reputable expert on interrogation and intelligence gathering, is that torture such as waterboarding and the more “conventional” methods just doesn’t work. Those tortured will at some point either grow inured to the infliction of physical distress or give out inaccurate information just to get a respite from the torturer’s wrath.
Modern intelligence methods and computer surveillance can dissect a suspect’s life in hours, finding out his every contact, recording his conversations, spying on his actions and reading his email without him ever knowing he’s being watched. This kind of passive monitoring can yield huge results, as opposed to grabbing a potential evildoer off the street and locking him away in Camp Waterboard until he cracks.
Even in prison, skilled interrogators can build relationships with prisoners, gaining their trust and eventually wearing down their defenses to get actionable intelligence without the use of thumb screws.
But beyond all the rational arguments lies a personal one: I am proud of my country. I am proud of our strength, our compassion and our willingness to do what’s right. The idea that my country would treat its prisoners the way the KGB, the Khmer Rouge or some banana republic might simply does not jibe with that ideal. I will never support the torture of prisoners…MY country doesn’t do that.