Thursday, December 11, 2014

Should We Keep the Facts of Torture Secret

An argument I've heard any number of times, in which I find little merit, goes like this:
Some, like U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), argue that the Islamic State and al-Qaeda already have the United States in their cross-hairs, so what’s the difference. That’s true in general, but will this report’s release help these groups find new foot soldiers, followers and funding?

The info in this document, especially with its lurid details, could prove a propaganda bonanza for existing or future terrorist groups — not to mention "lone wolves" who may be incited to violence by it.

This is a serious risk.
The assumption behind the argument is that the people who were on the receiving end of U.S. torture are every bit as in the dark about it as the people of the U.S., who were told about water boarding and not much else. As if, when asked, a suspect who was tortured but eventually released would decline to describe what happened during his detention, lest he make people angry at the U.S.

I recognize that a lot of people here bought into the "They hate us for our freedom" canard, but really.

1 comment:

  1. I expect that a number of those setting this program up didn't expect that to be a problem, because they didn't expect the recipients of torture to ever again walk the earth as free men. Or for that matter, to face a trial where this stuff might come out. Which is why they freaked out so much about, say, the release of David Hicks, and added a bunch of conditions:

    After his release from Guantánamo, Hicks returned to Australia and was placed under a one-year gag order prohibiting him from speaking to the media. As part of his plea agreement, he was also required to withdraw allegations that the U.S. military abused him and agree not to take legal action against the United States.