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On September 11th of 2001 the United States of America fell victim to the barbarous terror attacks of Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. Nine-teen men hijacked four U.S Commercial Airlines and deliberately flew them into World Trade Center 1, World Trade Center 2, the U.S Pentagon. The fourth plane was retaken by a valiant group of passengers but ultimately crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board. (September 11th Hijackers Fast Facts par.2) This event shook the nation as many viewed the attack as not only a threat to national security, but as an attack on American national identity. Almost three thousand people were killed, and as a result these attacks facilitated major U.S initiatives to combat terrorism. Forty-Third President of the United States George W. Bush took action and sought to ease the minds and hearts of Americans with the words, “calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat”. (CITE) The president went on to promise that the United States would overcome terrorism saying, “stop it, eliminate it, destroy it where it grows.” (History.com Staff par.5). After such a catastrophic event, national leaders began to ponder the following question; how can we prevent something like this from happening again?
In an effort to crack down on domestic terrorist attacks the George W. Bush Presidential Administration implemented a series of government programs that directly targeted suspected terrorists. In fact, these initiatives would become a defining characteristic in the presidency of George W. Bush. The program known as The Detention and Interrogation Program set out to strengthen and ensure national security. It played a vital role in the development of protocol on how to handle suspected terrorists and detainees. However, the program itself was quite controversial.
The program allowed specifically for the use of torture methods more formally known as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” These interrogation methods were instituted in an effort to gain insight and information on any future terroristic activity. The so called “EIT’s” or enhanced interrogation methods, authorized through the program, included but were not limited to; waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, nudity, and dietary manipulation. The program operated out of the eye of the public for many years. An extensive study conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the institution formally in charge of providing information and analysis for leaders of the federal government, released a 6,000-page report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. The report released to the public on December 9th of 2014, revealed findings that were quite alarming; it detailed how the CIA ineffectively tortured prisoners, provided false and or misleading information to news media organizations and the public, impeded government oversight, and simply mismanaged the program. (“Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program par.5) The study also concluded that more forms of torture were used than previously disclosed The report alluded to the fact that the program may have “damaged the United States” international standing (CITE).
This raises the important question, are torture methods known as Enhanced Interrogation techniques to forceful to be effective? After the public release of the report on the Detention and Interrogation program three main political points of view arose. Numerous CIA officials and Republicans claimed that the report concluded by the Senate Intelligence Committee misrepresented the program, and provided a botched and incomplete picture of the program. Others were simply unhappy with the publishing of the report because of the potential damage it could have on the international standing of the United States. Another notable political opinion was one of praise for the publishing of the report. President Obama himself praised the release of the Senate Intelligence Committees” findings with the words, “one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.”
It is important to understand the facts, regardless of the political points of view that emerged after the public release of the report. The report concluded that torturing prisoners “did not help acquire actionable intelligence or gain cooperation from [the] detainees”. (CITE) In accordance with the reports” findings and conclusions seven of the thirty-nine detainees subjected to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence whatsoever, and various detainees provided accurate information without ever being subjected to the torture methods. Furthermore, numerous detainees fabricated information and deliberately provided false information to CIA officials after being subjected to enhanced interrogation methods.
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