The Senate investigation into CIA interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks reopens old wounds and raises questions long ago asked, but never properly answered, about the appropriateness of such techniques in battling terrorism. The current administration prohibits these kinds of techniques, but it, Senator Feinstein, and others concerned about the CIA’s use of torture under the previous administration support utilizing drones to kill enemies. How appropriate is any of it?
These issues are debated by people far better informed than me, but I would make one point. Many folks who are perfectly okay with the CIA’s techniques after 9/11 are assuming that the techniques were used on “terrorists.” In fact, the Senate report reveals about one-fifth of the men imprisoned were wrongly detained, and some were subjected to the “enhanced” interrogation techniques (President Obama called these techniques “brutal”):
. . . the CIA used enhanced interrogation techniques against at least one of those persons [according to the report].
“They include Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be,” that footnote states.
Other detainees . . . include one detained as “useful leverage” against a family member and an “‘intellectually challenged’ individual whose taped crying was used as leverage.”
The report shows that the CIA acknowledged it had wrongly detained five individuals throughout the course of the program, but the committee’s review of CIA records found at least 21 others who did not meet the standard for detention.
War is hell, presidents and people acting on their behalf in the defense of America have an impossibly difficult job, and people acting in good faith sometimes have terrible lapses in judgment. If this report forces our leaders to ponder how this happened, and to insure that processes are in place to minimize these sorts of abuses and mistakes, then this report will serve a useful purpose.
Readers of Community of the Wrongly Accused know we loathe sacrificing innocents as collateral damage—whether it be in the “war on rape” or the war on terror.
This post was originally published at Community of the Wrongly Accused.—Eds.