Sunday, March 20, 2016

Conducting "enhanced interrogations" causes moral wounds to those who do it

In my role as a civilian contractor for the Department of Defense, I spent the first three months of 2004 torturing Iraqi prisoners. At the time, we were calling it enhanced interrogation, but that’s a phrase I don’t use anymore. Stress positions, slaps to the face and sleep deprivation were an outrage to the personal dignity of Iraqi prisoners. We humiliated and degraded them, and ourselves.

Ferdinand and I spent the early months of 2004 implementing the country’s interrogation program, we struggled to contain the growing sense that we had shocked our consciences and stained our souls. Our interrogations used approved techniques. We filed paperwork, followed guidelines and obeyed the rules. But with every prisoner forced up against a wall, or made to stand naked in a cold cell, or prevented from falling asleep for significant periods of time, we felt less and less like decent men. And we felt less and less like Americans. [...]

If I had the opportunity to speak to other interrogators and intelligence professionals, I would warn them about men like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. I would warn them that they’ll be told to cross lines by men who would never be asked to do it themselves, and they’ll cross those lines long before they consider anything like waterboarding. And I would warn them that once they do cross the line, those men will not be there to help them find their way back.

No comments:

Post a Comment