FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

After the CIA Torture Report

With the release of the CIA report detailing torture methods in secret prisons, we are at a critical juncture with an opportunity to regain our nation’s credibility in the world. The acts described in the report are morally reprehensible and a direct affront to our American values and international human rights.

While Americans are disgusted over the details of the CIA report, those who promoted the politics of fear — including the CIA’s use of torture — following the attacks of September 11, 2001, have returned with a vengeance, uselessly attempting to protect their own political legacy. They are shamefully taking advantage of this situation to promote ineffective tools of what most Americans believe to be a bygone era. In addition to their inhumanity, these methods spread hatred, mistrust, and extremism worldwide while demonstratively doing nothing to bring those responsible to justice or reducing the number or frequency of terrorist attacks.

Now is the time to demonstrate true and historic moral leadership and correct the mistakes born out of the Bush-Cheney counterterrorism policies; including the CIA’s use of torture. The only significant results we saw from these Cheney-era policies were the fanning of the flames of extremists everywhere and the reduction of U.S. credibility and support around the world. Several non-partisan studies and terrorism indices conducted over the past few years have demonstrated a dramatic increase in global terrorist attacks targeting innocent civilians, including Americans and American interests, during and following the implementation of these policies. The CIA’s detention and torture program following September 11, 2001, was used by violent extremists as motivation for the successful increase in Al-Qaeda-sponsored attacks against Americans, American interests and allies all over the world.

We cannot win the struggle against violent extremism, including the fight against Al-Qaeda, without truly winning the hearts and minds of people around the world. This would be achieved most effectively by continuing to discredit Al-Qaeda’s ideology and methodology of hate and by investing in the prevention of terrorist safe-zones through increased non-military crisis intervention and open political engagement. Regaining the historic U.S. role as the primary enforcer of international human rights laws is vital in effectively achieving a victory against violent extremism.

The politically practical, yet false, assumption that should be challenged in the coming months is not the assumption that the Obama administration’s counterterrorism reforms are placing our nation at risk.

What needs to be challenged at maximum volume, by President Obama, by members of Congress, by every American, is the false assumption that the CIA’s detention and torture program was “successful.” It is the CIA’s detention and torture program, including the detentions at Guantanamo which continue today and remain unchanged since the Bush Administration, that did nothing to stop the increase in Al-Qaeda-sponsored or motivated attacks against Americans, American interests and allies in Bali, Casablanca, Islamabad, Istanbul, Madrid, Mumbai, London, Riyadh, and Tunis among others.

With the release of the CIA report and the Obama administration’s decision to launch a Department of Justice investigation, our nation is in a struggle for the definition of what it means to be America in an admittedly dangerous and sometimes hostile world. Our worst enemies are those few individuals, on all sides, who act based on their emotions and in response to perceived injustice or pending national tragedy. It is time we learn from our historical mistakes born out of the Bush-Cheney counterterrorism policies and understand once and for all that the politics of fear, including the use of torture, have no place in this magnificent mosaic, the nation of nations we call the United States of America.

KAREEM SHORA is National Executive Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). He is also a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC).

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 08, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic
Eve Ottenberg
Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide
Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu
How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic
Bill Quigley
Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana
Joyce Nelson
BlackRock Takes Command
Geoff Dutton
Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts
Richard Moser
From Strike Wave to General Strike
Gary Leupp
Could COVID-19 Kill Capitalism?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Corona, Capital and Class in Germany
Tom Crofton
Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical
Steve Kelly
Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters
Jacob Hornberger
Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon
Phil Mattera
The Rap Sheets of the Big Ventilator Producers
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?
Rick Baum
When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses
Jake Johnston
Tens of Millions Will Be Pushed into Poverty Amid COVID-Induced Recession
Kim C. Domenico
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus
John W. Whitehead
Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties
Binoy Kampmark
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus
Luke Ruediger
BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation
John Kendall Hawkins
Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!
Nyla Ali Khan
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
Matt Smith
Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back
Kenneth Surin
What The President Said (About The Plague)
Patrick Cockburn
The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914
Marshall Auerback
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic
Jeremy Lent
Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?
Dean Baker
The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy
Nino Pagliccia
A Simple Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela: End All “Sanctions”
Colin Todhunter
Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order
Robert Fisk
Biden Says He ‘Doesn’t Have Enough Information’ on Iran to Have a Vew. How Odd, He Negotiated the Nuclear Deal
Wim Laven
GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display
Binoy Kampmark
Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive
Dave Lindorff
It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession
Steve Brown
FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan
Marc Haggerty
Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t
Manuel García, Jr.
A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”
George Wuerthner
How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires
Marshall Sahlins
Election 2020
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail