Joshua MoughlerHis 201Dr. Amy Scott12/12/17Enhanced Interrogation Interrogation
post 9/11 has become a matter that has become overlooked. Americans have
surrendered their rights and the rights of others for safety. Both Americans
and foreigners have been mistreated using different forms of torture, be that psychological
or physical. The moral high ground that this country has
personified for years can no longer stand. Though through the media cycle the
acknowledgement of the injustices, caused by fear, will soon be forgotten. It
is the responsibility of the people of the world to keep those who believe that
through their own might can bend the rules in check. For if morality is
abandoned in favor of security the real war has been lost. It was
the 1940’s just a few years after the atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. America was shoulders deep in a new war. This new war was not
fought with guns as the previous wars had been. No bombs were dropped. The two
most powerful countries were in deadly game of who is the manliest. Always
moments away from total inhalation the two countries built their arsenals until
either country could destroy everyone and then some. All the while one country
was developing a new weapon. This weapon was designed to manipulate the human
mind. Even those with the strongest of wills were no longer immune to
interrogation. The Soviet Union had apparently developed mind control. This
tactic could effectively access any information that the subject had obtained. Knowing
that the world was now changed and that captured Americans could not out will
the psychological terrors caused by the dreaded communists of the east, the
United States in all its pristine moral standing started working on a defensive
solution. In order to prevent the airing of America’s own dirty laundry and to
ensure the national security of The United States, project BLUEBIRD was
created. This was a project designed to defend our boys from mind infiltration
(17).  1            Project BLUEBIRD was a defensive
strategy designed by the CIA designed with the objective of “Discovering
means of conditioning personnel to prevent unauthorized extraction of
information (17)”2
and “establishing
defensive means for preventing hostile control of Agency personnel. (17)”.3An old
saying goes “the path to hell is paved with good intentions” and so project
BLUEBIRD became an experiment in torture. Subjects of experiments done in the
1950’s were described as to have had”Hysteria,
collapsed in uncontrolled sobbing, and pounded in desperation on the boxes that
confined them. (25)4″Pre-9/11,
America would not handle these tactics themselves, but preferred to hand them
off to other countries, in Asia and Latin America who engaged in torture that
was designed by Americans for the Americans. But post-9/11, America decided
that it was time to get its hands dirty. U.S. Agents began to use torture in
its own prisons such as Guantanamo (27).5 9/11 had become an excuse
for America to engage in tactics that were less than honorable in the name of
national security. Since
2001 the US has committed crimes against not only captured suspected foreign
terrorists but American whistleblowers. Private Manning leaked classified documents
to WikiLeaks. Once arrested he was shipped to the Corps brig at Quantico and
placed into solitary confinement for almost a year. While in the brig he was
forced to sleep naked and then stand naked for inspections in the morning. “In a
stinging critique, some 295 legal scholars wrote an open letter condemning the
conditions of Manning’s confinement as a violation of the U.S. Constitution,
arguing that his treatment would, if continued, constitute torture under that
catch-all clause in Section 2340 banning procedures calculated to disrupt
profoundly the senses or the personality” (253).6After
9/11, Bush released notes declaring that the could sidestep the laws of both
the U.S. and the Geneva Convention, relating to torture, in an effort to exempt
themselves from consequences. Under the Bush administration, psychological
torture such as waterboarding was permitted by the CIA. The development of this
form of torture stems from the 1950’s survival training. The survival training
is the only part of the interrogation research acknowledged by the CIA.7  “Inside
CIA headquarters, officials felt a “high level of anxiety” about possible
prosecution for methods they knew to be defined as torture under both U.S. and
international law. The presence of Ph.D. Psychologists was considered a “way for
CIA officials to skirt measures such as the Convention against Torture (235).””8 Knowing
this there is no avoiding the facts that both the CIA and the United States
practiced both genuine torture and impunity. No one
person can be blamed for the culture within the intelligence community. Since the
Cold War, the CIA slowly progressed from a good project of protecting Americans
captured by the Soviet Union, then the CIA committed to torture but they would
not practice it themselves or in American prisons, then after 9/11 torture was committed
within American prisons. Many would blame President Bush for the culture of impunity
and while they would have a case that he did play a large role, it would be amiss
to not acknowledge that America has been on this road for along time and no one
person can be blamed. Each person who has participated in normalizing and codifying
torture should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for each person
respective crime. Is America
stuck in this culture never to break free from practicing torture under a
different name? Maybe, books such as McCoy’s only bring to light to the crimes.
It will take a movement of the American people to change. In our current
climate America is divided on every issue and every issue has become partisan.
The effectiveness of our current government to solve even small issues such as
the cost to make a penny is greater than the worth of the penny, is nonexistent.
Social attention is fleeting. The media cycle rotates so fast that without
presenting the tragedies to the American public on a frequent basis, they will
forget and go back to their celebrity news.  Changing
the government will take a social movement on the scale of women’s rights or
the Black Rights Movement. Once the mind of the people has been changed it will
take new laws. The new laws will have to fix the holes that the U.S. Government
has been exploiting. The United
States Government and specifically the CIA has, since the end of WWII,
participated and endorsed the use of torture by both our countries and our allies
abroad. What once started as a defense mechanism, against a threat that seemed
to be a form of magic, has become cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S.
Government is committed to subverting foreign and domestic laws on torture. The
U.S. Government, which is sworn to uphold the constitution, commits crimes that
have been deemed unconstitutional. Until the people of America rise up together,
to stand against the injustices and inhumane acts committed by those who are
charged to represent the will of the people, the culture of torture will not change.
If we truly believe that all men are created equal it is the duty of both the
citizen and the lawmakers to not stand for this corruption.       

1 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 17.

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2 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 17.

3 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 17.

4 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 25.

5 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 27.

6 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 253.

7 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 234.

 

8 McCoy, Alfred W.
Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. University
of Wisconsin Press, 2012, 235.