What The CIA’s Torture Report Says About Our Society

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report, “affectionately” known as the “Torture Report,” on the CIA’s antics relating to “terrorist” prisoners. The report is basically a cliff notes version of the over 6,000 page classified official document. The findings are so shocking that they seem to have knocked the world speechless. The American government was mildly surprised at the lack of worldwide protests over the report, but many have speculated that the admissions are so stark and unexpected that no one knows quite how to respond.

America, the land of the free, the land of the brave, the land of… torture. The report that details the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” reads like some monstrous horror movie script. There really isn’t a “worst” torture technique listed in the damning report. They are all nightmare inducing. Six and a half days of sleep deprivation. Forcing prisoners to stand on their broken limbs. Inserting things into their rectums, ostensibly to introduce nutrients such as food or water- that weren’t needed. Water-boarding- i.e., near drowning. Physical abuse. Forced nudity. Auditory overload. Extended isolation, light deprivation, and claustrophobic confinement. At least one prisoner was forgotten and left chained to a wall in a standing position for roughly seventeen days. What could possibly make any of these torture techniques worse? The report notes that twenty six of the 119 prisoners did not meet the standards for confinement. Those twenty-six men were wrongfully detained, held, and tortured. At least one of the tortured men was already a CIA informant. Let that sink in.

While it’s very easy to picture terrorists and those behind the deaths of Americans as vile monsters deserving of the misery or torture, the actuality is the CIA captured and tortured people it suspected of being responsible, tied to or acquainted with people who were behind the deaths of Americans. The CIA used an “ends justify the means” approach in attempting to extricate information from the individuals it captured and tortured.Unfortunately, as has been documented repeatedly and reported by the Inquisitr, victims of torture aren’t necessarily truthful. Some victims gave up “information” that led to the arrest of other innocent people. John McCain, himself tortured as a POW during the Vietnam war, has decried the actions of the CIA.

Water-boarding. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

It’s almost unbelievable that there are vehement supporters of these reported torture tactics. As Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing. When a blind eye is turned towards a government that uses and defends using torture to gain information, humanity suffers. How long until the PR machines makes dissidents and criminals as reprehensible as terrorists? Once the line has been crossed- torturing humans- it’s not a long walk from “terrorists” to criminals.

NPR reported that NBC aired “Peter Pan” so that people could “hate watch” it. They played on the fact that people would derive more pleasure from hating the show, and Tweeting snarky comments, then actually enjoying it. Do ploys like this encourage people to basically act as bullies? Or are they capitalizing on this negative aspect of humanity? Regardless, as is evident in too many areas of online commentary, keyboard warriors spreading hateful messages outnumber altruistic supporters. Those same types of people are coming out in full force to support the tactics employed by the CIA against these supposed and alleged terrorists.

Terrorists have killed Americans. They have done so in heinous, horrible and reprehensible ways. They have indiscriminately killed men, women, children, fighters, pacifists, and an untold number of innocents. It is of the utmost importance to thwart their bloody plans and bring them to justice, but doing so by means of torture is to become no better than them. It is a step backwards in civilization.

Some Republicans are attempting to distance themselves from these reports of torture by calling them “old” and “irrelevant” because of how long ago they occurred. The United States still prosecutes Nazi war criminals, and that war was a generation ago. These individuals were tortured within the last decade. Do not be deceived. Do not be pacified. As Americans, we are better than this. These men that were tortured, they were fathers, sons, husbands, brothers. And twenty-six of them may have been innocent.

Americans should not tolerate these injustices committed by their government. Americans should not lash out in thoughtless anger and randomly torture anyone perceived to be guilty by association. Americans developed a Constitution to protect themselves from tyranny. Those ideals should extend to the way that Americans believe and behave as humans are humans. One is not more or less of a human depending on one’s citizenship. Our criminal justice system ensures that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Our Constitution and our laws aren’t just a collection of words. They are designed with just such instances in mind. They are designed to protect against unlawful detention. They are designed to protect against torture.