After reading the article from independent.co.uk “Alan Derchowitz: Should we fight terror with torture?” I’ve interpreted this prompt as an invitation to discuss the best way to balance the legitimate need for information and intelligence from possible terrorist forces against the concern for human rights and well being. I, as your fearless leader, have a few talking points to bring up on that very subject.
- Some James Bond-ish infiltration of terrorist sects needs to occur. It needs to occur even if it’s not that cool- it seems paramount that we not only must we increase our intelligence of both governmental and transnational organizations overseas, but we must develop a legitimate way to determine if a detainee actually is the proud owner of any sort of relevant information or if he’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Secondly, if these men have “no fear of death and no home address” then it’s imperative we figure out what will shake them. I understand that they’re fighting a war beyond this world, but they’re also human. They have weaknesses and we need to determine what exactly those are.
- Torture is the lowest common denominator- torture affects everyone. I believe that America is capable of interrogation that’s a bit more complex and a whole lot more humane. Reza Aslan said last night that once America draws a line in the sand, to allow itself to be pushed over that line would prove detrimental to all facets of the American image. Declaring that we now have more respect for human rights is not an opportunity to find a loophole and keep torturing. Laws must be drawn up and specific regulations must be made about every interrogation technique. An accepted version of what’s appropriate and what’s not is crucial. A blind eye cannot be turned. If America says it does not condone torture then American’s cannot torture. Stick by your guns.
- My last point has the most potential, I believe. The article said that this war isn’t going to end- that’s terrible. It’s awful and alarmingly it may prove quite true. This war won’t end and we have centers full of detainees who haven’t earned POW status and we can’t let them go because they’ll just try and blow up their captors. What to do, what to do? In last night’s lecture Mr. Aslan said that all this unfounded concern for Muslims will dissipate when people actually meet a Muslim. Get to know one, have a conversation. This may be an indicator of my youth and subsequent ignorance, but if we’ve got wrong-place-wrong-time detainees and an army of soldiers who would benefit from exposure to their culture, why don’t we put the two together? We have the need and the means and if a greater understanding by American soldiers of just who they’ll be living amongst would dispose of even a little bit of preexisting bias before future deployment then I don’t see what the harm could be. I’m sure some soldiers won’t like it, but that’s the joy of a hierarchy!
The glaringly obvious point is that American laws must be reworked and adapted to the needs of the time. A decision that I don’t feel quite capable of making at this point in my education is how much attention we should give to the Geneva Convention and our UN friends. They are not facing our specific concerns of terrorism, so our needs are different. On the other hand, we need their support and preferably their approval. The question left standing is one of balance, and balance does prove challenging to maintain.