The Best Thing We’ve Read All Day: Torture and Sin Edition

From Sam Sawyer over at the Jesuit Post on Patheos:

It’s been a struggle to figure out what is most disturbing in the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s “detention and interrogation” — i.e., torture — program, but I got the list down to a top six:

  1. The sheer brutality of some of the “enhanced interrogation techniques;”
  2. The fact that the torture was mostly useless, if not actually counterproductive;
  3. The fact that we’re discussing torture and effectiveness as if utility could justify brutality;
  4. The way the CIA exceeded the authority granted to it and actively misrepresented and obscured the worst of what it was doing, both to the Congress and to the executive branch, both during the program and after it was shut down;
  5. That there was and is heated debate over whether this information should be released at all — this one makes my list because it forces the thought that, if this had waited until committee chairs changed with the new Congress, we may not have have ever seen this information;
  6. The return to the argument over whether or not these methods of torture were legal — i.e., were really torture — to the near-complete exclusion of the question of whether they were wrong regardless of what we call them.

It would be easier to pick a most disturbing fact if these were six separable problems with torture — but they’re not. They are deeply interwoven.

Read it all here.


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