Open Thread on Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ('Torture Report')


#1

Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world. As Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who serve to keep us safe, among them the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, these public servants have worked tirelessly to devastate core al Qaeda, deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupt terrorist operations and thwart terrorist attacks. Solemn rows of stars on the Memorial Wall at the CIA honor those who have given their lives to protect ours. Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices.

In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country. As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years. At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.

Today’s report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation’s response to 9/11—the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office. The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists. We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals. That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report. No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better. Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past. Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/09/statement-president-report-senate-select-committee-intelligence


#2

I don’t find this “troubling” in the least. When you have people who are willing to murder “infidels” by the thousands, they must be stopped. However information is obtained to prevent other atrocities is OK by me. And waterboarding worked! :slight_smile:


#3

So the ends justify the means in your view.


#4

Nothing but a political hack job by uber liberal Chariman of the Select Committe, Diane Feinstein. Nothing but Democrat demogougery aimed at the 2016 election. It is amazing how these frauds are willing to destroy and endanger our military just to score political points. Some people would sell their own Grandmother for a $.

Linus2nd


#5

First of all, waterboarding is not “torture”, compared to what our enemies use.
Second, I put my family members in the building about to be blown if information is not extracted quickly. And yes, the mass murderers of 9/11 had designs on killing millions more, if possible. So yes, the ends of stopping more killing justifies the means of waterboarding and sleep deprivation. Absolutely. :cool:


#6

Feinstein is releasing information which will foment Islamic rage (an easy task, BTW) and may well lead to the deaths of more Americans for political reasons. As you state Linus, this is being done for purely political reasons, in the hopes that the American public has become as soft as cotton candy, and can no longer deal with the reality of terrorism. :rolleyes:


#7

That is exactly my question too.

The ongoing debate on the networks is just such a false one: “is it right” vs “did it work”. I can understand the secular media not getting the false distinction, but we as Catholics must and should.

It is at times like this that the value of Christian principles shine; unless one has a higher moral standard than “what works”, then practically anything goes, because torture can be whatever the one not being tortured defines it as. Eventually, without a Christian perspective, there is no objective right or wrong, and the only test of what should be is “effectiveness”.

But we who know that the secret to keeping one’s life is to be willing to relinquish it…we have a greater responsibility to speak up.


#8

One would think that if an individual did not view waterboarding as torture they wouldn’t have to qualify their statement by comparing it to what the other guys do. Should I assume that, in addition to the ends justifying the means, you also hold that morality is conditional and not absolute?


#9

I never thought of my acceptance of Christ as my Lord and Savior as some kind of a suicide pact. God gave us the brains to extricate ourselves from some grave situations that we encounter, and we should use any means at our disposal to avoid a cataclysm.
Would you agree, if your family was being held at gunpoint, that a clean shot at the assailant would be justified to save their lives? :confused:


#10

“Any means at our disposal”?


#11

Yes I would agree that if my family was being held at gunpoint that a clean shot at the assailant would be justified (here assuming it’s the only course of action reasonably possible) in order to save their lives. But, and sadly for your position, that’s not the same as torturing someone for information. Perhaps your confusion comes from not understanding Catholic teachings concerning the use of force, taking the life of someone, and torture.


#12

Water boarding and other forms of torture DO NOT work. The information obtained is not reliable.


#13

Yes. If it means the saving of lives. This is an easy call. It is not right to lie to buttress your agenda, such as those who told fake rape stories did, but to save human lives? I don’t understand your position one iota. :shrug:


#14

Do you want to live in a lawless society? I personally want to be a member of a civilized nation. Civilized nations do not torture people. That is my position. If we are okay with ignoring our laws, how are we different from the terrorists?


#15

There are some things we, as Christians, should never do - even if it could arguably save our lives. One of those things is torture. The highest aim of a Christian is not to save life (important as that may be) but to please God, so “any means at our disposal” is not allowable. It is not acceptable to violate the basic principle of “love thy neighbor/enemy” on the hope that we may secondarily and remotely, save lives.

Torture is not about just punishment (we could use the same principles of our justice system to administer that), this is about unjustly deliberately inflicting suffering by attacking basic bodily structures/functions to bring about a desired result. Inherent in that attempt to save life, is also significant potential to place lives at risk - that of the captive and those of innocent people - because by violating international conventions, it places our own armed forces (and other Americans as well) in danger of being tortured and/or killed.

How to tell if an act qualifies as inhumane or as torture? Generally, if we have to argue about whether it is torture or not - it is torture. Certainly, if we have to strengthen security around the world before a report on it, it is torture.


#16

I will have to find my references later but I heard the Terrorists are not subject to the Geneva Convention. We could act very harsh on them. And we did get Bin Laden because we might have waterboarded 2 or 3 times, I guess that makes us the same as those who behead people. Anyway, I can find my references later.


#17

#18

Here are all 500 pages of the executive summery:
intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf


#19

Waterboarding IS torture.

The church views torture as an “intrinsic evil” that can never be justified. The inevitable harm it does to individuals and to society as a whole allows no exceptions. To those who would advance arguments for the exceptional use of torture to protect public safety, the Catholic Church argues that we cannot do something intrinsically evil and expect good to come of it. In 2007 Pope Benedict reiterated the teaching found in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church “that the prohibition against torture ‘cannot be contravened under any circumstances.’”


#20

Under Obama we ARE living in a lawless society, Seanny, if you haven’t noticed. You state that enhanced interrogation does not work, b/c the information is not reliable. This is liberal pap. Of course it works, b/c if the information obtained proves to be erroneous, the interrogee believes that more of the same treatment is coming, if not something worse.
I cannot fathom why single rational person could believe that the masterminds of the murders of thousands of people are deservant of the due process of America’s legal justice system. Would you have felt better if these monsters were simply detained and read Miranda rights, while subsequent terrorist acts were unleashed? :ouch:


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