There's a Good Reason Not to Torture Suspected Terrorists

With the recent confirmation hearings of potential new CIA director Gina Haspel, conversations about torture have found themselves back in the lines at water coolers all across America. The reason, of course, is Haspel's history of torture at black sites under the maniacal watch of George W. Bush during the first act of the war in Iraq.

The 'enhanced interrogation' tactics of the CIA and several military branches in the early aughts will go down in history as a serious blemish on the face of America, recalling an era of willful ignorance by a populous that dressed it in the drag of patriotism. Despite her claims that she will in no way condone torture in her role as CIA director, Haspel's confirmation will surely echo the sins of her younger self.

But why should anyone give a flying shit if a bunch of suspected terrorists get their nards hooked up to a car battery while a cacophony of Skinny Puppy rattles it's way out of the PA system of some island prison's basement? You'd have to be a special kind of snowtard to care about the civil liberties of guys who strap bombs onto children and promise them an abundance of nonsense that they can't possibly deliver on, just so long as the kid blows up a whole bunch of people, right?

Well, that's a fair argument. But the civil guarantees of terrorists is a lesser issue than the dangers of faulty national security intelligence.

While Haspel and pals were using psychosis inducing drowning simulations to get their suspects to talk, they were simultaneously assuring that the entire US intelligence community was getting the answers that it wanted. Whether or not the information was true was always a distant second in importance to the satisfaction that the Bush sequel got from parading around in front of TV cameras, proclaiming that they'd been right about the locations of terrorist cells and WMDs all along. It's easy for a collective amnesia to set in after so much time has passed, but Dubya really needed a win, and having his allegations that Iraq played a pivotal role in 9/11 'confirmed' was an easy-A for the floundering president.

Haspel herself allegedly oversaw a suspected terrorist being water boarded an astonishing 83 times. Seeing that his captors were unhappy with his previous 82 answers, the detainee in question finally realized that saying Iraq was harboring Al Qaeda would stave off an 84th dunk.

Tactics like these led to one of the most flawed military campaigns in American history. A large swath of young men and women marched themselves into recruiting offices all across the country; chests swollen with the pride that only comes from fighting for freedom against an evil terrorist regime.

This faulty and criminal method of information gathering caused the deaths of over 3,000 US soldiers, and the absolute decimation of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. Countless more came home with the kinds of lifelong physical and psychological detriments that touted a level of unyielding loyalty that the pack of lying bastards who started this quagmire never deserved in the first place. Now one of those bastards is in line to head the CIA.

Gina Haspel's proclamations about not condoning torture after she gets her career rocketing appointment at the agency are perfectly lovely and all, but she has a history that strongly contradicts this sentiment. She didn't even have the microscopic fortitude required to tell Kamala Harris that she thought that torture was morally wrong. Senate confirmation hearings have become nothing more than a pageant to find the best liar to fill a position anyway, so Haspel's trepidation on the matter seemed unnecessary. That is, of course, until you consider the boss.

Much like post 9/11 Bush, Trump is a man who thrives on validation. The current POTUS has found little political footing after ludicrously promising to rejuvenate the coal industry, shoving through tax cuts for the wealthy that polled at an abysmal 39% (Quinnipiac), and the president himself boasts an approval rating just under 42% (fivethirtyeight). The guy needs a win.

It's likely that Haspel was well aware that an unwillingness to cage someone up in a roomful of their own feces would make it nearly impossible to move up the ladder. After all, Trump himself recommended killing the families of suspected terrorists, and is renowned for his desire to bask in any praise that he can get. If he can find someone to lead the CIA who's willing to sign away their humanity in fealty to his ego, then he may even stop attacking the intelligence community every time he holds a pointless rally.

Terrorists are no one's sweethearts, and it's easy to understand the compulsion to drive rusty nails through the balls of their feet. There are none worse, and any act of mercy in their direction is undeserved. But gathering intelligence by horrific means is nothing that we should reapproach without a complete and total willingness to sacrifice a whole generation on the alter of our vengeance. It happened 15 years ago, and it could happen again tomorrow if we allow our bloodlust to overwhelm our logic.

History has a habit of repeating as soon as we forget it's painful lessons.

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