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War on Torture December 3, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, politics, Uncategorized.
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The November 30th edition of the Washington Post contains a fascinating article by “Matthew Alexander” who was an Interrogator that sought to get information from detainees in Iraq.  Matthew is using an alias for security reasons and details how he witnessed the types of tortures that were used in Abu Ghraib.  He refued to participate in torture and would not allow those under his command to participate in acts of torture either.  Instead he used cultural understanding and non-abusive psychological techniques to interrogate detainees and ilicit good information from them.

Torture was against Matthew’s “moral fabric” and it should be considered against the values that the Federal government and the American people stand for.  Not only is torture barbaric and inhumane but it could also result in faulty intelligence.  After all someone is more inclined to tell you what they think you want to hear whether its true or not if it will help make the pain go away.

Matthew also states that many of the foreign fighters/terrorists that came to Iraq after our invasion, came because of the abuses that occured at Abu Ghraib.  The abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib incited rage and resentment among radical groups througout the Middle East.

Matthew writes…

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

Besides waterboarding and other acts of torture the Bush Administration also utilized a policy called “Extraordinary Rendition” where detainees were sent to nations that were known for brutal torture.

At Guantanamo, many detainees have been held for years without being told what they are being charged with and without any evidence presented against them.

President Elect Obama insists that he is against torture and wants to restore America’s moral standing in the world.  He also wants to find a way to close Guantanamo.

Sadly, the policies of torture during the Bush Administration will likely be a stain on America’s foreign policy that will be used to incite radicals into terrorism for many years to come.

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