Saturday, May 30, 2009

Twitter and Torture

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone on Twitter about whether or not President Bush should be prosecuted for his role in Guantanamo. My stance was "no" and my friend's stance was "yes". I have been rethinking my general opinion of it ever since.

The fact that terrorists were tortured with the intent of gaining information from them does not trouble me. I "get it" that people who are willing to absolutely sacrifice themselves - go down with the ship and take as many people (often Americans) with them as possible - are not going to willingly offer up helpful information in an American court. There seems to me to be no other way of getting any information from these people who obviously could give us a little.

However, that said, it does bother me that those who administered torture to the prisoners at Gitmo in many cases seem to have actually enjoyed doing it! Even if a person "deserves" it (in one's opinion), it is NEVER justifiable that any human being could delight in the destruction and torment of another. It is inhuman - it goes against what it means to be human and share the other person's experience of being human.

I do also believe there is a time and place for the death penalty, and many (if not all) of those who were detained at Guantanamo deserve it (in my opinion). And for the sentencing, yes, I believe they should be tried in an American court of law with due process.

Finally, my opinion has not changed regarding President Bush: I do not believe he should be prosecuted for his role in the proceedings at Guantanamo. Like I said at the beginning - there just seems to be no other way to get needed and potentially (definitely) available information from people who are willing to die not to give it. It is the meanness and general vindictiveness of the guards and administrators of the torture that I think needs to be examined/prosecuted.

2 comments:

  1. Is there any crime for which President Bush can be prosecuted for? This isn't about Bush, but the rule of law and American values. There are two big holes to your argument. 1) That only torture works with Al Qaeda types. Quite the contrary, there is real evidence that raport building, shows respect and dignity to captured detainees works far better and more reliably than the use of torture. And ones torture is introduced, you can't tell from fact or fiction of whether what they are say is true or only to make you stop inflicting pain on them. 2) That most of the detainees in Gitmo are terrorists. To the contrary, there is ample evidence that many that were turned over were done so to settle domestic scores in Afghanistan or for the outrageous ransom money being offered to locals for any foreign persons in Afghanistan. Many non-governmental agencies have documented that a majority were infact not "hard terrorists" worthy of enhanced interrogation, even if they were terrorists at all. 3) The practices that were going on in GITMO were not restricted there, but were carried out in Abu Ghraib, other detention facilities in Iraq, Bhagram airforce base in Afghanistan, and in dark sites worldwide. To shift blame to just the low level people who carried out the policy decided from the Oval Office will be worse for America's long term interest worldwide. We will infact become a country that harbors and give safe-havens to war crminals, who's decisions lead to rape, torture and murder worldwide.

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  2. The pictures from Abu Ghraib actually are what caused me to believe the torturers enjoyed what they did. Disgusting. And you have a point - answers gained from torture could be true or could just be anything to get the torture to stop. Overall, though, I think the decision to allow torture in the first place was not made with mal-intent, but honestly to get information. However, I don't believe reports carried out by just any "non-governmental agency". All agencies have their agendas.

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