Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Torture Immoral or Not? What Say You, Ms. Haspel?

According to the New York Times, in late 2002, Gina Haspel was dispatched to oversee a secret C.I.A. prison in Thailand code-named Cat’s Eye. While she was there, C.I.A. contractors waterboarded al-Qaeda suspects including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashir, the man accused of orchestrating the bombing of the American destroyer U.S.S. Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000.

Based on her compelling testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel clearly believed that she was following the law when she authorized these “practices.” She stated that her principals were well thought out and that she had the authority to make these decisions. Besides, the president, the Attorney General, and most members of Congress actually ordered them to be done in the name of national security.

But torture is not wrong because it is illegal. Torture is illegal because it is wrong. Classified programs, oaths of allegiance, and upholding professional conduct will not make an immoral act/program justifiable- not even when it is deemed perfectly legal by lawmakers such as presidents and senators. Haspel may be a bureaucrat of remarkable intellect, unswerving loyalty, and self-evident leadership poise, but simply following orders has nothing to do with moral accountability.  Apartheid was legal in South Africa. The Gestapo obediently followed orders in Germany. It was legal for Kim Jong-un to execute family members and feed their remains to dogs. Less than 100 years ago it was legal in certain parts of America to lynch a black person for trying to vote. Even Osama bin Laden reinterpreted Islamic theology in order to make killing other Muslims legally acceptable to Allah.

Since the Spanish Inquisition the same tactics used under Haspel’s watch have been considered torture and immoral. Today, this belief has been codified into international law. Torture is wrong because it contaminates the intentions of anyone trying to pursue moral truth.

It does not matter if Gina Haspel believes the C.I.A always follows the law. Does the CIA follow the Truth? We know that she followed orders without questioning them. But does she believe that torture is immoral today? That is the main issue. What say you, Ms. Hespal?

More articles by:

George Payne is Director of Gandhi Earth Keepers International and Philosophy Instructor at Finger Lakes Community College.

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
George Payne
The Direction of No Return: a Meditation on America’s Descent into Tyranny
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgive
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
May 24, 2018
Gary Leupp
Art of the Dealbreaker: Trump’s Cancellation of the Summit with Kim
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail