Thursday, December 08, 2005

Do We Torture?

There is currently a debate occurring in which the definition of humane treatment is in dispute. But, my interest is in whether we actually have CIA operatives who use torture in their interrogations. There are not many pieces of evidence supporting this. Take this article for instance, claiming the CIA tried to cover up a torture. The cause of death was likely blunt force trauma and asphyxiation. It was labeled a homicide on the death certificate. The individual was abducted by SEAL team members, then interrogated at Abu Ghraib where he perished.

There is no mention of the condition of the detainee after capture. The interrogation room was cleaned up before the treatment investigation took place. Photos of US forces and the deceased were taken, showing the men grinning. The bloody hood covering his head has disappeared. His body was kept on ice to prevent its decomposition. Which the author claims is to cover up something.

There are the facts. If you stretch them out into a dark conspiracy, it could be a cover up. Or maybe he was half dead when he arrived. But what if he had critical information regarding a bombing? What if they roughed him up a bit, and he died? The cover up is extremely thin. Of course you would clean any room. Especially if there was blood. Any janitor worth his salt would clean it right up. The hood and restraint part is standard procedure, and perfectly within international law. And if the hood had blood on it, would you keep it? Of course it was canned.

If he was bleeding, bruised on arrival, yet needed to be interrogated immediately, and died during the 'interview', who killed him? If he was bright and shiny on arrival, and beat to death in the interrogation, thats not a good practice, and we should hold the responsible parties up to the law. But is there proof in this instance? And even if there was, does it constitute anything more than one bad apple? Still no proof, and certainly the great body of evidence regarding our treatment of detainees indicates we do not torture.

Why, when you search for the term torture, are the results split up into two opposing views from the same political perspective? On one side are all the men, women and children immigrating to the United States claiming asylum and bringing evidence of torture. On the other side are all the psychotic peaceniks who detest the US and its power. They devote much time and energy to demonize us, simply because they do not agree with US foreign policy. What extreme hypocrisy. Are we the purveyors of torture, or the island of refuge from such?

I personally believe that techniques for the extraction of information are terrible, and would not want to be the subject of such. But if terrorist had abducted any of my friends or family and we had one of them, I would be all for extraction techniques. So where is the balance? I think it must be discouraged in the open, and used judiciously in covert situations, with the expectation that if exposed, the practitioner is going to take a fall. Any other solution is fraught with trepidation. But this is the current situation, and exactly what we currently do, so why do we need a new debate? Could it be simple politicization? I believe so. With the end result of our country's image being smeared.

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