Torture by U.S. Military

Torture by U.S. Military

This is a somewhat tame image in comparison to the other images from Abu Ghraib where our very own military grotesquely tortured and violated the basic human rights of Iraqi prisoners as a means of interrogating and extracting information during the Iraqi War. Thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens were herded into the Abu Ghraib prison solely because they fit the basic profile of being an Iraqi aged between 18 and 50. More recently, torture was utilized in several off record black sites in unearthing information regarding the location of Osama Bin Laden which contributed and led to Bin Laden’s assassination.

What are your thoughts on the use of torture by the military? Should a human being ever be subjected to terrible methods of torture such as the one depicted by the image?

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6 thoughts on “Torture by U.S. Military”

  1. Another question here: How did images from Abu Ghraib initiate and shape public discussions about those practices, which had also been reported in prose? What difference did those images make in shaping opinions? Did they help or hinder the discussion of actual policy and implementation?

  2. This is almost laughably tame, as this was, “controlled fear” in which no one was actually even hurt. Tactics like “controlled fear” and “sleep deprivation” are still used at Gitmo, along with other techniques such as, “Shaking: The interrogator forcefully grabs the front of the prisoner’s shirt and shakes them.” If valuable information results from the occasional slap then I’m all for it. I would also argue that no real torture has taken place since Abu Ghraib, enhanced interrogation is not torture.

  3. I agree with @ccc516195 in that enhanced interrogation does not equate torture. I will go ahead and argue the utilitarian point of view and say that relatively very few Iraqis tortured in Abu Ghraib is better than the possible deaths of many American or other citizens. Of course this opinion is not of the popular consensus because of the backlash of the American people when pictures like this were released.

  4. Part of the problem here is semantics and power: who gets to call what “torture” vs. “enhanced interrogation.” Those terms have not always been used in the same ways by everyone. One other facet to consider is utility: claims about the effectiveness of extreme techniques (whatever we call them) has been seriously called into question. We know that in many cases, subjects begin to tell you what they think you want to hear, whether they know anything or not.

  5. If the government is going to torture humans, then it shouldn’t lie about it. It makes the US look hypocritical in the eyes of other countries. We cannot accuse and reprimand others for actions we ourselves commit. In my eyes this image did not do enough to get attention and show the atrocities committed by the US government towards prisoners.

  6. If the United States is to truly be the enlightened and modern society we often like to characterize ourself as, our actions must reflect the ideals set out by thinkers such as Montesquieu, who condemned the use of torture. The claim that these “enhanced interrogation techniques” are somehow different then torture is purely an argument of semantics. The argument that they are only performed on foreign terror threats creates a slippery slope. Those in power determine who is a “national security threat” and by allowing torture, we set the precedent that whoever is considered such a threat may be dealt with in a similar inhumane manner.

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