Should We Use Torture to Obtain Intelligence Data?

A journalist resource (2017) stated that: ‘During the George W. Bush administration, the CIA employed what it called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on detainees around the world. This included waterboarding (simulated drowning), sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, beatings, sexual humiliation, and threats to hurt a detainee’s children or rape a detainee’s mother.’ (para,1). Does torture work, and Should we use torture to obtain intelligence data? What is the Christian’s view on the use of torture? Using the these questions, this essay will provide numerous resources to help conclude whether torture is an acceptable method to utilize on detainees captured for questioning, and most of all, protecting our nations national security.

The Government’s highest investigation interrogators explained that torturing and abusing, when interrogating detainees is not the most effective solution to gather reliable and truthful information. Does torture work? Enhanced interrogations are not to make people talk, but to instead, gather reliable information to protect our nation’s citizens from radical attacks on U.S soil. CIA programs of Enhanced Interrogation techniques are torture, dangerous and life-threatening techniques designed to break down the will of a detainee in order to garner information that the detainee would not otherwise provide, information that would prevent imminent significant harm to citizens. Interestingly, up until 9/11, the CIA stance was that torture was ineffective and the information provided unreliable (Hickman & Kiriakou, 2017).

This is supported by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s 2014 report on the state of detention and enhanced interrogation techniques, which states that “the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation” and “the interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others” (CIA Torture, 2018). These techniques, whether or not they are legal or not, destroy our country’s image around the world and incite anger and vengeance when combined with the existing feelings of over-reach, authoritarianism, occupation, police and military abuses, and tyranny.

Our enemies can use the evidence of these abuses in their propaganda, legitimate events lending credibility and sympathy to their cause. understanding the need to find information and to find it fast, however if in the act of uncovering or obtaining information to prevent an attack we then fuel three more attacks, it’s a pyrrhic victory. Even more so when the information obtained is unreliable at best. It is written in 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”, therefore let us be consistent in our words and our actions, that we avoid impropriety and give our enemies ammunition to use against us.

Although torture has been found less effective, There are numerous ways for a country to attempt to defeat terrorism. Our textbook states that “They include (1) crushing terrorist groups unilaterally, (2) crushing terrorist groups multilaterally, (3) containment, (4) defense, (5) diversion, (6) delegitimation, and (7) transforming terrorist breeding grounds” (Gaines, 2018, p. 136). With all these options, defeating terrorists unilaterally should be a last resort since it is always a better idea to have allies supporting us for a variety of reasons. I believe that choosing to crush them multilaterally, containing, using defensive strategies, diversion, delegitimation, as well as transforming terrorist breeding grounds all at the same time might be the best overall options without having an example of a precise circumstance.

transforming terrorist breeding grounds. Although this option is said to be difficult, if it is a success, it would likely save lives, and it could even make potential terrorists our friends of the future. Giving some of these upcoming terrorist hope of a bright future might change their entire life’s direction. “As Gurr (1990) noted, democratic reforms can substantially reduce the support for terrorists and win over those who otherwise might be recruited by them” (Gurr, 1990). If Gurr is correct, then the United States has the right idea when attempting to transform oppressive countries into democracies, although we have not always had great success in many of those attempts.

In conclusion, It is important to think about the future, to predict it and plan on it. But from an overall perspective we do not know what the future holds. (Ecclesiastes 8:6-7) told us “For there is a right time and procedure for every purpose, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no one knows what will happen, who can tell him what is to come?”. We do not know for sure the exact state of the future, we do have technology and knowledge to help us predict the future and some prediction has happened before, but it had also misled us. Even though we may not know what the future exactly holds, we can still tell what will happen because history repeats itself.