Thursday, October 04, 2007

Torture in American Military Policy?

President Bush has done many things in his presidency. He's removed a ruthless dictator, involved the United States in a war against an enemy that is vast and veiled, and he has condoned methods of torture in order to gain "crucial intelligence" from detainees.

The Bush administration has blurred the legal lines as to what is right and what is wrong. Waterboarding, stress positions, and countless other forms of physical and psychological "inquisition" methods are being used on supposed terrorists. Is it right for the U.S. to condone such extreme measure of interrogation? The U.S. claims in the Bill of Rights Amendment XIII that there will be no "cruel and unusual punishment inflicted." If this is true domestically why is it untrue in foreign relations? Where do we draw the line in terms of acceptability for this behavior?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

So is it better we let tall buildings come down, or dirty bombs infiltrate our atmosphere? Maybe we need to allow greater changes in our bill of rights and in our constitution to accommodate the changing times we live in? Just food for thought??

Tylar said...

I don't condone the acts committed on September 11th, nor do I condone the terrorist activity going on in the middle east; however, I don't think these people, as cruel and inhumane as we may deem them to be, deserve to be treated like subhumans. The United States signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture which explicitly states that each state is obligated to provide training to military personnel on torture prevention. While the US government may claim that torture is being "prevented," they should be saying is torture is being "hidden."

Nikki M said...

Anonymous -

If we change our bill of rights and constitution, then exactly what is it that we are protecting?! Everyone says we need to make sacrifices to preserve our way of life, but the rights enshrined in those documents are what constitute our way of life. The tall buildings you referred to are merely symbols of our way of life, and if we take them down metaphorically, what is the difference if they come down physically? Without the protections and freedoms offered by our Bill of Rights and Constitution, I don't see what's worth defending.

KaiserPatrick said...

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."- Barry Goldwater. America must do whatever possible to prevent terrorism and insurgencies on a global level. I don't understand why we are detaining half of these insurgents. When a terrorist or insurgent is captured fighting American soldiers wearing civilians they should be shot on sight, chances are they hold very little valuable information anyways. If captured terrorists can be identified as a top leadership member then advanced interrogation should be used. POWs should not be tortured or mistreated, but a POW is only considered, under the Geneva Convention, as one who wears a uniform to disguish themselves.

The bottom line is that many of those currently detained by the US are not protected under the Geneva Convention. Why would the Bill of Rights protect someone who is not an American citizen? Why should America be extending the Bill of Rights to protect foreign insurgents?

yanks23 said...

It is unbelievable that the American government can torture "supposed terrorists" and get away with it. According to an article found on google news, President Bush, stated ""This government does not torture people. We stick to US law and our international obligations," Bush insisted Friday as he defended his "war on terror" launched after the September 11 attacks of 2001." President Bush makes it seem as if the evidence of torture found by the New York Times, falls under "US law and international obligations." When President Bush believes in his mind that what he's doing is the only way to deal with terrorists, than I have to speak out. By torturing people believed to be terrorists, the American military is stooping just as low as those who performed the acts of September 11th. We see on t.v extremists torturing news reporters and various people and i'm sure most people including President Bush think to themselves, "gosh that's terrible and wrong." Is it right to be hypocritical? The Bill of Rights has done pretty well for our country till this point, so why even think of changing it. Just because times change does now mean we have to alter a document which represents freedom to the highest degree.

ashley said...

I don't think shooting everyone who could potentially be an enemy is the best policy to operate under. How exactly are we supposed to know who has valuable information and who doesn't? If you are privy to this information, kaiserpatrick, you should hand it over to the government because I don't think they've been able to crack that one yet, and I'm sure they'll be glad to know that you have.

Proposing an easy solution to a difficult problem is not the answer. No one commenting on this blog condones the acts of 9/11; we might even hate those who perpetrated the crime. But that does not give us the right to throw other people's rights out the window just because they are not US citizens or could possibly be an insurgent. We wouldn't want our soldiers and overseas civilians being treated in that manner.

In order to attempt to establish fair rules during wartime WE need to employ them. We can't expect anyone to show US citizens in other countries any mercy if we are not willing to at least investigate, rather than torture, suspects in a way supposedly outlawed in the Bill of Rights.

Ryan said...

It's no longer a big secret that Bush, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft signed off on a secret torture memo that justified, with respect to international law, the use of torture on Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees. It seems to me that when the prisoner abuse scandal broke at Abu Ghraib, the Bush Administration tried to hide their approval of such torture by blaming low ranking individuals in the Army for acting in an immoral manner.

On the other hand, I do not think that members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda care very much about reciprocity. No matter how well or how bad the United States treats its detainees, Al Qaeda and the Taliban would not hesitate to kill any American.

aditi said...

I think this is where the 'us vs. them' comes into play. The US has limits on torture allowed domestically but none for international territories. What does that say? That as long as you are American you are to be treated as a human and anyone else can just be treated as sub human? That as Americans we, even the criminals, are better and hence deserve better? I am not saying what happened on September 11th is anything less than horrifying, but justifying our actions by saying we are protecting our country is a formation of a somewhat mutant moral community spoken of by Katz.
Interrogation is a must, but it must be conducted in less extreme ways. If not, are we not becoming the monsters we are tying to condemn?

KaiserPatrick said...

Ashley, what I was generally trying to say is that there is no international or military law that protects guerilla fighters who wear civilian clothing and so there is no point in taking any, who caught fighting American soldiers, prisoner. In Iraq there is no point taking someone prisoner who has no information and will most likely take up arms against American soldiers again if released, besides the fact that they were wearing civilian clothes which means the Geneva Convention does not protect them. Interrogation should be reserved for those of the top leadership who are indentified if captured.