Independent Investigations
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In Case You Were Wondering (2)……


This is the second in a series of posts written to give some of the reasons that I and others in the electorate just can not bring ourselves to vote for Republican nominees.  Reason #1 is that The Republican Party has evolved from the party that worked diligently to conserve the environment to one that does its best to insure its destruction. (see earlier post) 

Here is Reason #2 (Remember that each reason stands on its’ own and one is not necessarily more important than others, they are just one of many.

Reason #2 – Replacing the current Democratic Administration with a Republican Administration significantly increases the probability of a return to the “enhanced interrogation” policies ushered in by the Bush Administration.

As I was preparing for this post I found an article in Salon Magazine calling attention to the fact that an increasing number of Americans believe that it is perfectly fine to use torture on individuals as a means of getting critical information.

According to a new survey from YouGov., an increasing number of Americans support the torture of terror suspects.  Forty one percent of the 1,000 individuals asked advocated for the use of torture on prisoners (a rise of seven percentage points since 2007).

Within the past week there have been several articles in major publications indicating that a group of individuals within the Romney advisory staff have pressured him to reverse the Obama directive outlawing torture during the first days of his Presidency if elected.  All indications are that a Romney Administration will once again, bring the United States out of line with the world community by sanctioning torture of detainees and using the term “enhanced interrogation techniques” to justify it.

Before you automatically fall into the trap of accepting that “enhanced interrogation” is justified there are several things you should know about the individuals who convinced President Bush that it was legal, the individuals who performed the techniques, and the effectiveness of its use.

  1. The United States of America had no real history of abusing prisoners of war or detainees until after 9/11/2001.
  2. The United States of America has always loudly proclaimed that torture is unlawful and in fact has executed individuals who tortured our prisoners during World War II.
  3. Legal experts have always denounced the use of torture as unlawful.
  4. The United States had been a world leader in the area of outlawing and preventing torture until the Bush Administration.
  5. Legal experts in the Bush Administration used faulty legal reasoning to convince President Bush that the years of legal advice given to Presidents of the United States were wrong and that they were within the law when advising him that torture techniques were legal and useful.
  6. Much of the legal reasoning used to justify “enhanced interrogation techniques” has been proven to be improperly sourced, legally unjustified, and in fact poorly developed.
  7. The individuals in the Bush Administration who made the decisions to move forward with these “enhanced techniques” never served in the armed forces of this country and never risked their lives for their country.
  8. Individuals who developed the SEER Program for preparing American servicemen to withstand torture if captured were, and are, completely unqualified to morph that program into a program for obtaining information from detainees.
  9. The most successful interrogations of detainees in the “war on terror” were performed by some of the FBI’s most competent and experienced interrogators.
  10. Interrogations performed by the CIA and military personnel involved the use of torture and were most often performed by individuals not trained in interrogation techniques.
  11. FBI interrogators often had to withdraw from observing interrogations performed by CIA and military personnel because staying in the room would have been supporting illegal activity and opened themselves up to criminal prosecution.
  12. All significant information gained from interrogation of detainees that was considered to be “actionable intelligence” came through FBI interrogations that used proven interrogation techniques that never remotely approached actions considered to be torture.
  13. No “actionable intelligence” was ever revealed during the CIA and military interrogations that had not already been revealed prior to that time during FBI interrogations.
  14. Torture does not provide “actionable intelligence”, it never has.
  15. A detainee undergoing torture will say anything to get the torture to stop.
  16. Intelligence gained as a result of torture of detainees has been used to arrest, detain, and torture individuals that were completely innocent and had no connection to al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organization.
  17. The United States apprehended several “terrorists”,  illegally and shipped them to Egypt and Syria where they were tortured for months only to be released and brought back home when other information proved they were never involved in any terrorist activities.
  18. Information gathered during torture is not usable in any court of law.
  19. The use of “enhanced interrogation” was often performed by very young, enthusiastic, military personnel hell-bent on exerting their dominance over another human being in an attempt to exact revenge for the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
  20. Claims of “lives saved” by individuals involved in torture activities, and by those who made it possible for these activities to take place have been completely debunked and proven to be claims that were used to justify more torture of detainees.
  21. All of this activity was done in the name of the citizens of the United States and completely ignored the backlash of the world community.
  22. In reality, the United States has developed a “if you do it, it is wrong, if we do it we are justified” mentality that creates more hatred for the policies of the United States.
  23. Military personnel at Guantanamo Bay did their best to hide their activities from Red Cross personnel charged with determining that detainees were being treated in lawful ways.
  24. The claim by President Bush that “the United States doesn’t torture” is patently false and misleads citizens of the United States into believing that we are always the “good-guys”.  The truth is, in this case, we were, and are the “bad guys.”

I, for one, believe that the use of torture in the prosecution of the war on terror has stained the reputation of the United States of America.  I am not alone in that belief.  Like-minded individuals also believe that by using torture on detainees, we have opened up a line of justification for similar treatments on any of our own military personal captured during hostilities.  In fact, the last Republican nominee for President has condemned the use of torture and warned those involved of its’ ramifications.

All Americans are granted the right to have their own beliefs and to express them without restriction.  With regard to the “torture debate”, individuals can believe it is effective, legal, and justified.  Let’s face it, in this country we are granted the right to believe almost anything, regardless if it is based on reality.

If you would like more information on the topic I have discussed here take a trip to the bookstore, or visit Amazon.com and educate yourself about the torture debate.  Each of these books is accurately sourced and all are fascinating reads.

  1.  The Dark Side – The Inside Story of How The War On Terror Turned Into a War On American Ideals – Jane Mayer
  2. 500 Days – Secrets And Lies In The Terror Wars – Kurt Eichenwald
  3. Ghost Plane – The True Story Of The CIA Torture Program – Stephen Grey
  4. How To Break A Terrorist – Matthew Alexander
  5. The Black Banners – The Inside Story of 9/11 And The War Against al-Qaeda – Ali H. Soufan
  6. The Terror Presidency – Law and Judgment Inside The Bush Administration – Jack Goldsmith
  7. The Italian Letter – How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq – Peter Eisner and Knut Royce
  8. At the Center of the Storm – My Years at the CIA – George Tenet
  9. Against All Enemies – Inside America’s War on Terror – Richard A. Clarke
  10.  Decision Points – George W. Bush

As always, objections and differing opinions always welcome.

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