Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
SO DO WE AND SHOULD WE TORTURE?
And we thought Jack Bauer on the Fox TV show “24” was heavy handed in his use of torture techniques. Jack was a piker compared to CIA operatives who utilized about every method of pain infliction imaginable. And then, Vice President Dick Chaney make it clear America had to move to “the dark side.” The ends justified the means if we were to protect our freedoms. But did we, and at what cost?
The controversy ignited last week when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a pejorative report claiming that post 9/11, the CIA undertook an elaborate scheme to torture purported terrorists in violation of federal law. The report also concluded that the program of “enhanced interrogations techniques” was incompetent and provided little useful information. Democratic senators cheered, but Republicans, with a few exceptions shouted it was all about politics. So what does a reasonable examination of the facts show?
First, torture is illegal under both U.S. and international law. Specifically, 18 U.S. Code § 2340A, states: “Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.” No exceptions for any government official. Cheney’s “dark side” argument doesn’t hold water under federal law. If America wants to torture, then change the law.
Secondly, did CIA operatives actually torture? I guess it’s how the “enhanced techniques” are defined. The senate report describes detainees being water boarded, rectally force fed, repeatedly beaten, hanged and handcuffed to an overhead bar for 22-hour periods, left in total darkness and cold temperatures, hooded and shackled, forced to stay awake for up to 180 hours while “standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.” Pretty damning evidence that these detainees were more than just “roughed up” a bit. Continue Reading…………….