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The Report on American Use of Torture

December 12, 2014
Plain English Version

Torture reportThe Senate Intelligence Committee issued a scathing report. It said the United States tortured terrorists in the years following the 9/11 attack on the NYC World Trade Center. It said the methods used were violations of U.S. law. Moreover, it said there were other ways of interrogating that would not have violated our laws.

The Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A) calls torture “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (EIT). It does not admit that it used torture. It does agree that some of its methods were outside the law.

How should people feel about this information?

One commentator thinks the news shows America’s commitment to its core values. He points out that this kind of report could not possibly be published in most of the nations on earth. He says America is still the destination for most people who choose to leave their homelands.

Some say the report may endanger some Americans because it will inflame our enemies. Others say it is more important that we be true to the values of America. That commitment gives us more, not less, security.

Civil liberties have been suspended during wartime in the past. President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Habeas corpus means that a prisoner is being held by authorities who have the right to hold him. Also, thousands of Japanese-Americans were held against their will during World War II.

The commentator said that America and Americans gave our security agencies a lot of leeway after 9/11 when the country was shocked and angered.

It seems the trust we extended was sometimes abused. Now we can rebuild it.

Senator John McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war in Korea. He said:

“I understand the reasons why we resorted to these interrogation methods. I know that those who approved them and those who used them were dedicated to securing justice for the victims of terrorist attacks. They were trying to protect Americans from further harm. But I dispute wholeheartedly that it was right for them to use these methods. This report makes it clear they were not in the best interests of justice. They were not for our security or our ideals. We have sacrificed so much blood and treasure to defend our way of life. We are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.”

Source: The New York Times December 9, 2014

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