By Stephanie Brito
On 9/11, almost 3,000 people died as a result of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It was the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.
9/11 struck a chord with each and every American and continues to fuel dialogue about how to treat terrorists. Briefly after 9/11, George W. Bush, president at the time, authorized the CIA to seize, detain and kill those al Qaeda affiliates.
According to a report released December 9th by the Senate Intelligence Committee studying the nature of the CIA’s detention and interrogation techniques, about one-third of detainees were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” These techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, rectal feeding and rehydration, which led to psychologically and physically disturbed detainees.
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba held some of the detainees mentioned in the report. Though President Obama issued an executive order to close the detention facilities, 136 detainees remain in the facility.
Those taking AP Psychology might have heard of Abu Ghraib, a city in Baghdad where American soldiers brutally tortured prisoners in a U.S. Military Prison. The almost universally condemned tortures in the Abu Ghraib prison are used to exemplify the theory of cognitive dissonance, which is when someone does something they don’t agree with but ends up changing their thoughts to match their actions.
Both of these facilities were off of U.S. soil and were condoned by the Bush administration as a counterterrorism tactic.
On December 14th, Dick Cheney, Vice President during the George W. Bush administration, came out in support of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” on an episode of NBC’s Meet the Press.
“The techniques that we did, in fact, use that the president authorized that produced results, that gave us the information we needed to be able to safeguard the nation against further attacks and to be able to track those guilty for 9/11 did, in fact, work,” said Cheney on Meet the Press.
Cheney is not alone. In a poll conducted by Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Americans believed that the CIA’s interrogation methods were justified. 56 percent said that the intelligence provided helped prevent terrorist attacks.
Despite the support illustrated in Pew’s poll, other politicians, most notably Senator John McCain (R), have reacted to the report contemptuously.
McCain, who was tortured himself during the Vietnam War, held a different view on the interrogation techniques than his Republican colleagues like Cheney.
“It is a throughout and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose–to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies–but actually damaged our security interests, as well as out reputation as a force for good in the world,” said McCain in a speech from the Senate floor.
Cheney’s support for the CIA’s techniques is backed by a sense of patriotic fervor, where Cheney continuously cited the 9/11 attacks, dubbing the event the only torture he sees and justifying the “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
“I come back to the proposition torture was what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11. There’s no comparison between that and what we did with inspect-enhanced interrogation,” said Cheney on Meet the Press.
Cheney also describes the Senate Intelligence Committee as being purely partisan, disregarding McCain’s adamant approval for the report.