By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
No one defends torture. Very few would attempt to assert that there is any place for it in a society that prides itself on the principles of an individual’s liberty and dignity. The only excuse that some might find compelling is if the torture of an individual were the only way (the operative word being “only”) to prevent mass atrocities from occurring.
The Senate’s scathing findings released this past week on CIA interrogation techniques are harrowing on all accounts. According to the report, the CIA mislead both the White House and the public routinely on the brutality and extent of methods being used including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and a particularly gruesome process termed “rectal feeding.” Such techniques were apparently not essential to counterterrorism efforts.
The CIA has fiercely countered that, even admitting mistakes, its activities did indeed procure crucial information, particularly for the eventual discovery of Osama bin Laden. President Barack Obama has trod a very fine line between condemning torture outright and the activities of the CIA, and not undermining the organization or its current director, John O. Brennan, a former aide.
This week BreakThru News spoke with Radio Dispatch host John Knefel about the report and what it might mean going forward. Perhaps what emerges most clearly is the toxic effect that torture has on everyone involved, victims and perpetrators alike. As Eric Fair describes in a recent op-ed in The New York Times, those in the position of interrogator are left to interrogate their own consciences for the rest of their lives.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
with guest – John Knefel