The Torture of Foreign Prisoners – English Essay
The right of “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the most important rights we Americans have. Regardless if these people are enemies of the Country, they still
have the same rights under our laws. Freedoms of Americans are spelled out plainly in the Constitution, guarded by our laws, and the treaties we have with other countries. Torture violates all of these guidelines. If we do not show these freedoms to people of other countries, then we do our whole country a dishonor. Torture to an enemy of the United States by the military or by any of the other Agencies is wrong and against our own laws and treaties.
Our own military’s lawyers have even expressed concern over the use of torture of prisoners. The Judge Advocacy General’s Corps had three of its top lawyers expressed their conserves over this tortures legality. It seems the Military has a manual with their laws and procedures spelled out very plain as to how to teat a “Prisoner of War.” The lawyers speak and put the reasoning very plain: “but also would cause public outrage if the tactics became known.” (White). This plainly shows our own military is concerned over this abuse of prisoners. The military knows it is breaking it’s own rules.
Army Col. Stuart Herrington, who is a military specialist in interrogations, who has been in Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq during Desert Storm, was sent to the prisons to check for the Pentagon. He had this to say over what was going on: “Aside from its immorality and its illegality,” says Herrington, torture is simply “not a good way to get information.” In his experience, nine out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk with no “stress methods” at all, let alone cruel and unusual ones. Asked whether that would be true of religiously motivated fanatics, he says that the “batting average” might be lower: “perhaps six out of ten.” And if you beat up the remaining four? “They’ll just tell you anything to get you to stop.” (Applebaum). Her is an active Army officer that disagrees with torture. A commander who knows the wrongs of it.
He had this to say about the current stories circulating around the water coolers of America. “At the moment, there is a myth in circulation, a fable that goes something like this: Radical terrorists will take advantage of our fussy legality, so we may have to suspend it to beat them. Radical terrorists mock our namby-pamby prisons, so we must make them tougher. Radical terrorists are nasty, so to defeat them we have to be nastier.” (Applebaum). This is the story being used for validating of torture. There is no proof that this story has any truth.
There is something no one has considered, the danger to our own soldiers when they are captured. Here again I quote: “Worse, you’ll have the other side effects of torture. It “endangers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity.” It does “damage to our country’s image” and undermines our credibility in Iraq.” (Applebaum) It undermines the work of our soldiers that are helping make Iraq into a country ruled by its people instead of a dictator. The use of torture robes them of their dignity and makes them into another oppressive force in a war torn country.
Where did all this begin? America has always been the defender of the oppressed and downtrodden. We as a people are the defenders of freedom. And now that we have
been attacked in our homeland we allow our government to break laws and rules that have been set for centuries.
Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture, a program named SERE. Out of fear of future terrorist attacks and frustrated by the slow progress of intelligence-gathering from prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, this program was changed. “That was a classified program at Fort Bragg, N.C., known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners, SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody. (Bloche).
Our Military took a school of how to survive torture and did a one hundred and eighty degree flip on it. Teachings for good were corrupted for use on the suspected terrorist. In a briefing given by General James T. Hill, he stated that a team was sent to the SERE school for this new training. “General Hill had sent this list – which included prolonged isolation and sleep deprivation, stress positions, physical assault and the exploitation of detainees’ phobias – to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who approved most of the tactics in December 2002.” (Bloche). So by our own admittance, the US Army has now changed and started using the training that was for how to survive torture and now use it as how to do torture. Misuse of training to degrade a person that is captured is not and never will be right. SEER’s was made for helping our soldiers, not to make them into torturers. A travesty of warping good things for bad results is now the end result.
The manual of the Army states exactly how a prisoner is to be treated. “While casting aside the field manual – flushing it, perhaps, down those toilets into which we are assured no Quran has ever fallen – President George W. Bush simultaneously refused a chance to go on record against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of anyone in U.S. government custody.” (Cocco). So it is known that the manual is being thrown ignored with this use of torture. The United States has even signed treaties with other countries banning torture of prisoners, which they are now not following.
Why are all these things being ignored? One reason alone is why, the President has so ordered it. The CIA is acting under orders, as is the Military to do what ever it takes to find out information. The fifteenth and sixteenth paragraphs of an article named Military Lawyers Fought Policy on Interrogations by Josh White of the Washington Post Newspaper, puts the blame exactly where it belongs on who is responsible for this. “In 2002, the State Department’s legal adviser expressed concerns that the Bush administration had ignored the Geneva Conventions in deciding how to treat captured members of al Qaeda and the Taliban. Because such captives have been categorized as “enemy combatants” and not prisoners of war, the administration has said the conditions of their detention are not governed by the Geneva Conventions, though they would be treated humanely.
The abuse at Guantanamo Bay has been reported several times in the news. The use of military trained dogs for intimidation and torture is just another atrocity that has come to light. “They were considered “authorized” by the Army field manual and Defense Department guidance and were therefore not considered abusive. Identical tactics were later used at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison by military police officers who were not authorized to employ them.”(White).
Using any means possible to find out information to stop terrorist is counterproductive. No valid proof of it working can be found anywhere. There are no cases where any information gained was valid. Any other country in the world would not allow the use of torture to find out information. So why does the United States?
So the laws are set, the treaties have been signed, the Code of Conduct manuals have been written, lawyers have complained, as has Congressmen, and still the inhuman acts of torture go on. The common person in the streets, know the wrongness of it. So why does the President still allow torture?
Applebaum, Anne. “The Torture Myth.” The Washing Post Company. January 12, 2005.
Blouch, M. Gregg. Marks, Jonathan H. “Do Unto Others as They did Unto Us.” The
New York Times Company. November 14, 2005. Copyright 2005.
Cocco, Marie. “Torturing Prisoners? Not by the Book.” Common Dreams News Center.
Copyrighted 2005. Newsday, Inc August 2, 2005.
White, Josh. “Military Lawyers fought Policy on Interrogations.” The Washington Post
Company. July 15, 2005. Page A01.Copyright 1996-2005.