Abu Anas al-Libi, an alleged al-Qaida terrorist, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to terrorism charges for the bombing of several U.S. embassies in Africa.
Upon his capture, the question arose of whether or not he should be tortured during the interrogation process.
Enhanced interrogation techniques were used by the Bush administration after the attacks of Sept. 11. These methods, often considered indisputable torture, included hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding.
President Bush adopted the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which discussed the numerous cases of detainee abuse. However, he also made it clear that he reserved the right to waive this bill if he thought it was needed.
The Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense used these interrogation methods on thousands of prisoners in secret prisons and detention camps.
However, debates have arisen as to whether these techniques constitute torture, and whether they violate U.S. or international law.
Are these techniques morally acceptable?
And if the government does indeed choose to use these methods, are they successful?
Being associated with al-Qaida, there’s a good possibility that al-Libi knows information that could be very useful to the U.S., however, getting him to talk is the difficult part.
If the government decides to torture him, who becomes the villain? Perhaps they could still get the information needed without actually inflicting cruel and extreme suffering.
At the end of the day, they have to be able to live with the decisions that they make. If they spend their day ferociously torturing other men, how will that weigh on their conscience when they go home to their families at night?
Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal previously used enhanced interrogation techniques, but found them ineffective in gathering information.
“(We) used them a little bit in the first few months after I took over and then just stopped because one, we realized—I didn’t feel good about it and they weren’t working so we did away—it took me about nine months before I was completely convinced, the summer of 2004, the only way to operate is … sitting down and just talking with people,” McChrystal said.
The CIA uses these methods as a way of getting what it wants. It deprives men of sleep and suffocate them until the victims struggle to breathe. In doing so, it is becoming corrupt. It enacts evil on the damned, viciously searching for answers while sullying themselves in the process.
Torturing al-Libi will probably make him more resentful. If the agency wants him to talk, it should instead be trying to gain his respect. If he feels that the agency is treating him like a man instead of a beast, he might be more willing to disclose his knowledge.
In 2007, it was released that the CIA had destroyed many videotapes recording the interrogation of prisoners.
Jose Rodriguez Jr., head of the directorate of operations at the CIA from 2004 to 2007, demanded the tapes be destroyed because he felt “the heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into public domain.”
The fact that the CIA went out of its way to destroy these tapes implies the insidious nature of these interrogations. Apparently, the torturing on these tapes was so appalling that its very existence posed a threat to the community. If the public got their hands on them, it may have caused an extreme uproar.
There has to be another way for the CIA to get what it want without using enhanced interrogation techniques.
Anger only breeds more anger. The CIA does not have to fight fire with fire.
Instead, they need to be the civilized ones. The agency needs to maintain their dignity without turning into animals. Torture is not the answer.