Public dodges uncomfortable conversation about terror tactics
Early last December, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the CIA Torture Report.
According to Vox’s Dec. 11 article, “16 absolutely outrageous abuses detailed in the CIA torture report,” the techniques included waterboarding, rectal feeding, and depriving detainees of sleep for over a week at a time, not to mention that at least 26 of these people were wrongfully held.
The fact that even some of these prisoners were innocent should, in and of itself, be a cause for enormous concern.
But, instead of being outraged over our heinous breaches of human rights, Americans were more concerned about optics.
In 2003, in the midst of the offenses, President Bush highlighted our hypocrisy as he spoke at the UN International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture, saying, “[The] United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example,” according to a Dec. 11 Reuters article entitled, “Details of how U.S. rebuked foreign regimes while using same torture methods.”
Fox News’ Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros eloquently encapsulated the feeling when she said, “The United States of America is awesome… this administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome. They apologized for this country, they don’t like this country, they want us to look bad.”
Sadly, plenty of Americans actually agree, at least in part, with Tantaros’ view.
“Overall, the public expresses the most doubt not about the CIA methods and program itself, but about the Senate committee’s decision to release its report,” wrote the Pew Research Center on Dec. 15, in an article called, “About half see CIA interrogation methods as justified.”
This is ridiculous. We should be outraged over torture, not transparency. We act hypocritically when we ask the government to reveal select secrets and shield us from the harsh realities of others.
Torture may be effective as punishment, but it is not the most effective way to obtain information, as the Atlantic pointed out on Dec. 14 in an article called, “The humane interrogation technique that actually works.”
We become indignant when others commit torture. If we truly believe that America is “awesome,” we need to hold our government to higher standards.