Torture Is Bad
Published May 13, 2018 / Updated August 7, 2020

Torture Is Bad

Gina Haspel can’t be trusted to run the CIA

by Chris Thomas

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Image by DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons and Flickr

Torture is bad. That’s not to say that Americans haven’t tortured or that torture hasn’t been used in the name of American national security in the past, but until about 20 years ago it was never part of the story we told about ourselves. Torture was something the bad guys did. Good guys got tortured — so much so that perhaps the most memorable line from the James Bond franchise is the subversion of that assumption.

Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond! I expect you to die!

If torture is bad, if it is against the values and morality of America, then no one told Gina Haspel. In the course of her lengthy interview process before the United States’ Senate, Haspel refused to characterize torture as immoral and refused to state that, if ordered to torture, that she would refuse.

And it is extremely likely that she will be ordered to torture. Then-candidate Trump stated, in one of the GOP primary debates:

“I would bring back waterboarding, and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” –Donald J. Trump

The choice before the U.S. Senate is crystal clear. If appointed to head the CIA there can be no doubt that Gina Haspel would return to her black-site methods at the suggestion of the President. There can be no doubt that, on her watch, the United States would torture again.

Torture does not yield actionable intelligence. It generates bad information and makes enemies much more likely to fight to the death rather than accept the possiblity of capture. It puts American troops at risk and the soul of the American Republic in harm’s way.

Good guys don’t torture. The Senate has to decide if that’s what we are.

Tell Congress What You Think

The Senate vote on Haspel could come down to the wire given John McCain’s opposition to her confirmation, so every letter counts. You can tell your Members of Congress about this or any other issue by texting RESISTto 50409. Or, if SMS isn’t your style, you can contact your government by talking to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.

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