April 22nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

OK to use "enhanced interrogation techniques" if they worked?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama's national intelligence director says that Bush-era interrogation techniques - which many call torture - may have worked. Dennis Blair wrote in an internal memo: "High-value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country."

Nat’l. Intelligence Director David Blair says interrogation techniques have hurt America's image; and the damage they've done outweighs any benefits.

Blair added that he'd like to think he wouldn't have approved such methods in the past, but doesn't fault the people who made the decisions at the time and will defend those who carried out orders they were given.

He says the information gathered was valuable in some cases, but there's no way of knowing whether they could have found out the same things using other methods. Blair says the bottom line is that these techniques have hurt America's image around the world... and the damage they've done has outweighed any benefits.

Former Bush officials have argued the interrogations were an important part of the war on terror. Former CIA director Michael Hayden says the use of these techniques "made us safer." Former Vice President Dick Cheney agrees and says he's asked the CIA to declassify memos showing what was gained from harsh interrogations.

Just yesterday, President Obama left open the possibility of criminal prosecution for former Bush administration officials who authorized this stuff. But he continues to insist that CIA officers who carried out the interrogations shouldn't be prosecuted.

Meanwhile a new Senate report shows senior Bush officials authorized aggressive interrogation techniques - like waterboarding and forced nudity - despite concerns from military psychologists and lawyers.

Here’s my question to you: If so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques yielded results, does that make them okay to use?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Richard writes:
Waterboarding was a war crime punishable by death to the Japanese who used the interrogation technique during World War II. It was also an atrocity when used on Cambodian civilians after the Vietnam War. Dick Cheney should be waterboarded just to prove that lessons from history are not his to exempt.

Frank from Cape Coral, Florida writes:
Yes, yes, oh yes, let me think, yes. If it saves one American's life, let me repeat myself, yes.

John from Knoxville, Tennessee writes:
Burning down the house to kill termites works, too, but it may not be the best approach to pest control. Blair himself admits that other methods may have yielded the same info. Torture is never justified, no matter what the result might be.

Tony from Houston writes:
When dealing with terrorists and their heinous acts, I think that there should be no limit on what we need to do to get the information to defend ourselves. If terrorists are willing to kill themselves and innocent women and children, then they open the door to any tactics we deem necessary.

Thom from Negaunee, Michigan writes:
That is the exact thinking we have condemned other countries for. That is the exact difference between us and those whom we consider uncivilized and void of human rights… If we can "justify" torture, then we have lost all that we have been.

Mark writes:
I can read all the responses now. We'll all ride our big, white horse decrying these interrogation methods. But then, sometime in the future, when there is another terrorist attack, everyone will wonder why the government didn't do more to stop it.

Mickey writes:
No. My grandparents who arrived through Ellis Island would be rolling over in their graves if they knew that the beacon of freedom they sought had adopted the practices of the regimes they fled.

Filed under: Al Qaeda
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Simon in Syracuse, NY

    Absolutely not! When the terrorists shove things under my finger nails, decapitate me and drag my lifeless body through the streets for everyone to spit on, I will go happily to my grave (that is if I'm buried) knowing that these heathens realize that my country doesn't participate in any form of torture. That'll show them! If you believe that Jack, I have a bridge in Iraq that Richard Pearl's headless body once hung from that I'd like to sell you.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  2. edward pickman

    Torturing prisoners is one of several reasons I'm seriously looking into moving out of country. The country I grew up in didn't approve of torture. Between welfare for the rich and big corporations and the blatant disregard for the Constitution I'm afraid for the future of this country. We're headed down a dark road and there may be no turning back. Things that in years past would have resulted in rioting barely get a grunt out of most people. Fear and apathy rule. People are willing to give up basic rights so they don't have to get off the couch and the generation coming up looks worse. What I hear that the young are demanding sounds like Communism, I'm deadly serious. The younger generations seem to want everything handed to them and don't feel like they should have to pay for things. In the decades to come if some one promises the people a painless solution where all they have to do is give up some basic rights I'm afraid most people will jump at the chance. We've lost the fire and the will to fight for our basic rights. The Founding Fathers would be truly disgusted with what we have become.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  3. Adam

    No! We are above this treatment regardless of the crimes. This does not make us weak, it makes us moral. The bush administration instilled fear into everyone and used that fear to justify this treatment. For decades prior we did not torture and now is not the time to start. I am so sick of hearing everyone say that Bush did a good job of keeping us safe and we have not been attacked again. Wake up people, how long before that attack was it that we were attacked and did everyone forget that Bush was in office when we got attacked on 911. Diplomacy is the way to go and Obama is doing just that. Republicans pick fun and say we are talking everyone to death. Well, if we are talking, chances are we are not fighting, and if we are not fighting no one is dying. Dick Cheney has crossed the line, he is doing no good for our country. Although Bush did a terrible job as president, I have to commend him for his work as Ex-president, although its very similar to his work as president... Doing Nothing!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  4. Tim F

    With torture, were no better than our foes

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  5. Rick

    Of COURSE torture works... What do you mean "if"?!?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  6. Tyler

    These techniques are absolutely not okay to use. Not only are the illegal, but the are morally disgusting. If America wants to be a country to be looked up to, a place of liberty and freedom, then we cannot endorse these "enhanced interrogation" techniques. We have condemned the use of these techniques in other countries, and we have also trained our own soldiers to resist them because they are what are enemies have used. The hypocrisy in our use of these techniques is astounding. The era of torture should end and we should begin to hold those responsible for it accountable.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Don

    In cases of national security, I say yes. That said, it should not be the preferred method nor should it be publically stated as policy. Each known instance should be reviewed on its own merit and any abuse of an accepted code of conduct should be handled internally not in the public. The majority of news organization in todays culture have lost my respect. Sometimes there is no other vible option; and in those cases, it has to be regarded as the lesser of two evils.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  8. Mo

    Snellville, GA – Has the world come to a standard of no moral values. In a world driven by human rights this and human rights that, it all seems to be a polictical agenda. I would expect this from 3rd world countries like Sudan or the Taliban, but now America too. What place on earth is left that respects human values? What has to be done to treat each other like brothers and sisters and children of god.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  9. Dawn

    People have returned to the pre 9/11 mentality. How sad for our country. I look at all of this as political pandering. They did what they felt they had to do. I am behind them 100%.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  10. Philip Sanborn

    You may have gotten even more information by cutting off their legs, but few would argue that this isn't "over the line". It doesn't matter how useful the information is that you get from torture, it is the method used to get the information that is the issue. President Obama, for whom I did not vote, is absolutely correct when he states that we lost our moral compass when it came to interogating terror suspects. With increasingly aggressive interogation techniques you can get an ever increasing amount of information, but at what cost? As a nation that likes to think of itself as a moral leader among nations with respect to human rights, we never should have resorted to torture to get what we wanted. What it does it mean for us as a country if we discard our ideals when they are not convenient?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  11. Chris

    This is a non-issue because of the heaps of research showing that torture is an ineffective data gathering strategy.

    So, this is a red herring. People will surely differ in their views on whether torture would be justified IF it did work. People would likely differ on whether we should explore the underside of the earth if it were flat. But who cares?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  12. Dan

    I think that torture (and let's be honest, we ARE talking about turture here) is perfectly OK if and only if ...

    1) It's done on non-US citizens
    2) It's done only on the direct authorization of the President himself

    I fully understand the reservations of Senator John McCain and others about the US torturing prisoners to get information (or getting other governments to do it for them).

    But for my money, if it comes down to either having a building or airplane full of Americans blown up or hooking up some scumbag terrorist's gonads to a 12-volt car battery, I reluctantly have to opt for the latter.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  13. Jim

    I've yet to hear of a single arrest, incident prevented or prosecution occuring, as the result of these techniques. If there have been successes then administration officals should tell us what they were and when they occured. I'm betting they can't.

    We're are America, remember us? Rights of the individual; protection under the rule of law? Remember us? I'm hoping we return soon and am ashamed of what we allowed ourselves to become in the name of fear.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  14. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    We're Americans, and should uphold a high moral standard and show others how justice is done. If we don't follow principles of justice, we're just another kind of thug and become indistinguishable from those we are trying to protect ourselves from.

    Surely there are ways for our intelligence community to stay vigilant without our participation in torture. I know some people would justify torture or killing a number of non-Americans to possibly save American lives. I can understand that sentiment, but the key word is "possibly." How much of our national noble bearing should we give up due to fear? At what point do we inflict harm on a person without a trial, and HOPE the information we receive as a result will do some good? Who decides when we cross this line (or allow others to do it for us), and under what Constitutional authority?

    "Sorry pal, we thought you knew something helpful. Your fingernails will grow back eventually." I just cannot give up American honor for the uncertain benefits of some shreds of data gained by torturing people. Life is risk, bad things like terrorism will always happen, and if using torture is the price of some illusion of safety, I'm unwilling to pay it.

    Surely there are other ways.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  15. Michelle

    Is torture justified if it yields results? Maybe. It worked for the Gestapo and the SS, it worked for the Viet Cong, it worked for Stalin, the Inquisition. If that is the company we want to keep and who we want to be – then yes it works. All of the above deemed their torture necesarry to extract vital information – the same way the Bush camp did. There is no difference in the reasoning behind it. If that is who we want to be so be it,. But let's stop being hypocrits about it. If we do it, then anyone of our soldiers captured can fall victim to it as well if their captor feels they might have vital or necessary intel. And we can't point fingers. Do we want to be remembered with the Ghandis and Mandelas or the Himmlers and Stalins?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  16. Rick

    The cure for waterboarding, a dry shirt! Any idiot knows our argument is based upon the definition of torture. We have 3 blokes waterboarded and the panzies are having a fit. Our decency is in-tact, as are the apendeges and heads of our prisoners. Our serviceman are not treated so kindly, why not focus just a tad of attention on that while your fence stradling?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  17. Jen

    Are you kidding me? Not only is it morally wrong to torture (AKA: "use enhanced interrogation techniques"), but it is against the law. Are we America or are we China or Iran? Bush- a professed Christian– allowed our government to simulate drowning, humiliate, and harm those who had never been convicted in a court of law for a crime. Maybe he should ask Billy Graham where in the Bible Christ said "hate your enemies and harm those who curse you." Well maybe it did for awhile somewhere because we've lived in "opposite day" every day, for nearly 8 years. And I am still outraged! Torture is unacceptable in any circumstance. Those who broke the law should be prosecuted– that includes the powerful- no matter what the political party.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  18. MBOH

    Braintwister for you Jack. Ironical that the same people who argue that the end always justified the means in this case argue against stem cell research because the end should not and can never justify the means.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  19. Gene Guilyard

    Anything that protects my family and this country from terrorist should not be off the table. This would include armed Americans and so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques. We cannot expect mercy
    from these extremist and none should be given. However i do not believe we should be advertising our techniques nor do i believe those who are endeavoring to keep our country safe should be prosecuted. Once again our elected officials are doing their best to weaken this countries defenses.
    Gene, Byrnedale,PA

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  20. Dan

    It seems that the population of this country is willing to give the Bill of Rights for a false sense of security. Why not also give up what we stand for. You might get a greater sense of false security.

    Our government broke National and International law torturing prisoners. No one should be above the law. The population has to live under the zero tolerance policy and the government decides which laws it wants to follow. That is the beginning of the complete breakdown of the legal system.

    Standing for our values is what once made this country special. I hope we might see this once again.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  21. Neal Clements

    Torturing another person for whatever reason is an immoral act. The ends never justify the means. The means are either right or they are wrong. We should rise above the actions of our enemies and not jump into playing on their field. How can you tell the difference between us and our enemies if everyone acts exactly the same. We talk a lot about how we are on moral high ground but if we want to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk. That means remaining righteous even when we don't want to and that means not torturing other people no matter what justifications we may be able to find.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  22. Larry Ansley - Atlanta

    Our laws and treaties make no exemptions for torture that works versus torture that doesn't work. So torture is illegal...period. More importantly, torture is morally wrong and totally contrary to our values as Americans. Criminal investigations should start at the top (Bush) and work down.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  23. Frank

    No. Never, we don't torture, nor should we. Our Moral authority is more important. I also don't think we should be killing islamist fighters when that is what they want – to die in jihad. I think a cold jail cell and a lot of time to think about their actions would be more approppraite. We should do anything to a prisoner that we would want to hapen to our if they were captured. I vote we don't stoop to their level.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  24. Grant

    If I want my neighbour's shiny new car shooting him and taking it away "works" too.

    "It works" is NEVER a legal justification. Ever.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  25. Steven

    Whether or not the harsh interrogation methods work is not the point at all. The Geneva conventions were not adopted to avoid interrogation techniques that were ineffective, there were adopted attempt to prevent inhumane treatment. Some may argue that they were only meant to apply to prisoners of war, but America also stands for more than the treaties we have signed. We have always striven to be a model for the rest of the world, imperfect though we may be. We should never allow fear to drive us to the point that we seek the opinion of a bunch of lawyers to see just how much cruelty we can get away with, and just how far from our moral center we can stray. I believe Mr. Cheney's recent comments illustrate a large part of what was wrong with the previous administration. They never thought about whether something was right or wrong, if they wanted to do something they only worried about whether or not they could get away with it.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. Bernadette Loesch

    No! As smarter people than me have said it will only give our enemies more fodder and ammunication (pun intended) against us.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  27. Jamie

    No. If our country succumbs to a philosophy of the "end justifying the means" – such as the use of torture to acquire information – then we have walked away from core principles and values that make America, a free land that values the worth and dignity of every human life, great. What we lack is patience. All human life – enemy or not – has value under God. We stamp "In God we trust" on our currency and this principle must be written in the fabric of our society – not just a slogan that makes us feel good. Trusting God requires patience on our part to see justice prevail, even if it takes more time than we are comfortable with, and patience requires that we not be hasty in acquiring information; therefore, torture should be an unacceptable practice. We must never ignore the dignity of every human being.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  28. Sheila

    Yes Jack it does. The lives of Americans are much more important than that of a terrorist being subjected to so called torture. What would you suggest we do? Ply them with alcohol? Oh, wait. That might work.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  29. Jim from Minnesota

    Hi Jack.

    I believe that these “enhanced interrogation” techniques in question are wrong, because you can never be sure that the person being interrogated is truly guilty or not. The Founding Fathers were more concerning about the rights of the innocent person than making sure that every guilty person is sent to jail. That's why we have the many safeguards in the bill of rights for those who are accused of crimes.

    Sure, a lot of the Gitmo prisoners are terrorists and are very bad people, but we also know of many of these prisoners have never been charged with anything and are not terrorists. How many of them were subjected to “enhanced interrogation” techniques? If the answer to that question is one or more, then these “enhanced interrogation” techniques must stop now.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  30. Chris

    If you have to torture someone 180 times in a month to get information, how is that effective?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  31. Nancy

    Excuse me? Are you asking if torture is okay? I was hoping I misunderstood you.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  32. Bill Russell

    Was it ok for the Viet Cong to torture US Soldiers in Vietnam since it worked in some cases? No its not ok to use torture even if it works!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  33. Al from SoCal

    t's kind of the underlying theme of "24" this season, what level of means justifies what level of results. Before the Iraq war I had the simple ideology, that there were only two reasons for going to war. ONE:A country is asking for your help that was first attacked by another country if so then YES, or TWO: Where you first attacked by another country if so then YES. No other reason was justifiable. It's the same kind of ideology that we accept that our society, Say for instance the battered woman cannot have her abuser jailed before the abuser has committed the act. He has to abuse the battered woman before he can be thrown in jail, even though his attack may end up killing the battered woman..
    The problem becomes much more complicated if you're president United States, Your first obligation is to the security of your country. You have to decide a course of action when intelligence gives you a heads up on something that's not happened yet and if you are willing to let potentially let thousands of people die to uphold an ideology over action that may be deemed as irresponsible unjustified harsh or simply just wrong. The stakes are much higher you are dealing with potentially thousands of lives and possible unfavorable or damning precedent I don't think anybody really knows what they would do unless they were actually in that position.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  34. Eric

    no. There are other examples of things that "work" but are wrong. Slavery, for one. You really can't compete with the cost savings and fantastic historic buildings were created from it, but it certainly is wrong.

    Seriously though, we as the so-called "moral authority" in the world need to set the example of how we treat our enemies. We certainly dont want our men and women being tortured. It has proven itself to be a vicious cycle. It emboldens the enemy and only serves as a means for recruiting.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  35. Ann

    No, torture is wrong. Period. I think it is telling the Bush Administration went so far as to rename "torture" as "enhanced interrogation," showing it understood the American people would not find torture palatable. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet..." Unfortunately the same can be said for an awful lot of other less pleasant things.

    Is this country so afraid it is willing to forget the things we fought to protect in previous wars? Are we willing to sell our souls for security? I believe the answer from a vast majority of Americans would be, "No!" If not, it is a very sad day indeed.

    Seattle, WA

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  36. Kenny

    This is a difficult question. If your life or the lives of loved ones were saved by having this information – then yes. If your life or the lives of loved ones were lost because these tactics helped recruit some wacko suicide bomber – then no.

    I think the President should have the option of using this type of interrogation if he/she feels the benefits could be substantial.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  37. Alice Chains

    To answer your question, YES!!!! Now if you asked if cutting off somebodies toe for this information was ok, I would probably feel differently. Who knows, though, because I am for Capitol Punishment, which is often the killing of American Citizens. I guess I would much rather be left to stand in my underwear or be forced to look at playboys or even feel like I am drowning then be killed. Of course I would probably rather be killed then left to rot in a cell until I die, with 1 hour/day outside. So I guess if I get to define torture, which apparently, is now just another political term..so my torture scale goes like this:
    Prison is worse then Death which is worse then uncomfortable, and especially when you factor in it was for isolated small increments of time...so if we are going to prosecute people for making others uncomfortable...then we should look at our prison officials next. Actually, i would rather be waterboarded once, then loose my license for a year or more (that would be just downright AWFUL)....this is getting complicated.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  38. J. Montana

    In times of national threats or acts of terror against America, certain forms of torture should be deemed necessary for gaining infornmation that will keep the United States safe.

    However, waterboarding and containing terrorists in "bug-filled romms" hardly consists of torture when compared to how these terrorists act on their own terms. In my opinion, the strict set of legal codes that inhibits many "information gathering activities" is ridiculous as well.

    The actual truth of the matter is that in cases of waterboarding, a doctor must be present (always), and the sessions of waterboarding cannot be longer than 40 seconds. I am shocked and surprised that the public is upset that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was waterboarded 183 times. The fact that we do not employ physical torture like the Insurgents, Viet-Kong, or other military forces is a statement to just how civilized and morally foolish people we really are.

    If information leading to the safety of America is recovered, "torture" should be an acceptable path.

    "The needs of the many (American citizens outweigh the needs of a few (actual convicted and admitted terrorists)"

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  39. Al Korpi

    I don't have any problem with it. If you want to hang out with terrorists, you might get tortured.
    Al from Wisconsin

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  40. Michael

    You can get money robbing a bank, but that is wrong too!!!!!!!!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  41. Chip M.

    Are we a society of laws? Are we prepared to surrender our rights to those in power who ride their own white horse of righteousness? Do the ends justify the means? Over the course of history, we've felt forced to answer these questions. The answers have, at times, flown in the face of our core beliefs in the name of "the greater good."

    So, if you are ok with the prospect that one day, of one of your children or someone you care about could be stripped naked, photographed, beaten, shocked, drowned and humiliated for what they may know, then yes, interrogate away.

    Just remember who's responsible when you are called to answer for your decisions.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  42. Rob Garraway

    NO! Torture is never O.K.. Period!


    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  43. Roger Kramer

    If the young American woman in Iran who is accused of spying was tortured, this country would be outspoken in its criticism of Iran, and rightfully so. Regardless of whether it is successful, torture has changed our country's ability to dictate behavior that the world agreed on in 1946 in Nuremburg. Torture makes justice impossible, without justice, our constitution is nothing.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  44. Jeanie

    How many lives has these interrogation methods saved? 2 million that I can think of.

    Our CIA acted just fine. The prisoner kept all their fingers & toes, treated fairly well.

    What did the muslims do to their prisoners? Beheadings, forced to eat their own excrement, & fake executions.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  45. Eric

    No, because even though they worked once, now they will expect us to use that type of interrogation and will train their people to deal with it.

    Plus, it brings us down to their level, and we cannot allow our values to be corrupted by their message of fear.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  46. Bob

    Jack, you need to clearify – worked at what? I belive the intent of such torture is to obtain false confessions. To that extent i have no doubt it worked for Mr. Cheney.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  47. paul bice

    unfortunately yes.
    the bottom line is this:
    if we obtained critical info only once,
    it was worth it.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  48. Lynn

    Our soldiers are putting themselves in harms way to protect American values. We must be willing to do the same. If we have an added risk by upholding our value (WE DO NOT TORTURE) it's what we must do.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  49. cmstg

    We should excercise the same level of respect for humanity as the terrorists do when they walk into a public square and blow up innocents.

    If torture by car battery saves one American life, then red is positive and black in negative and make sure the skin is wet.


    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  50. Steve in Nashville

    Jack, the ends never justifies the means when involves mistreatment of others. Who are we to engage in what our history books have condemned the Japanese for in WWII? It is the arrogance of "American exceptionalism" that make us an unbearable bully in the world's eyes. When will we learn that a nation is truly strong when it exhibits compassion along with its might? Torture is wrong and everyone inherantly knows it from the time they enter the fifth grade.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  51. Mark (from new york)

    Jack I'm a democrat and I say by all means waterboard them. Hardly seems torture compared to their interrogation method which is beheading people. These people are snakes. You fight a snake with a stick, not with your bare hands which is etiquette required for civilized humans.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  52. Paul (Madison, WI)

    No it does not.

    The fact that information was obtained does not mean that torture was the only way to obtain the information. Had other interrogation methods been used, we could very well have gotten the same information. For all we know, the use of torture kept the prisoners from giving us even better information that we could have gotten had we used more humane interrogation methods.

    In addition, looking at just the pieces of information gained from torturing suspects does not factor in the negative consequences of torturing. In WWII, German soldiers were more likely to surrender to US troops because it was known that we treated prisoners humanely, while they were more likely to fight to the death versus Russian soldiers. In that situation the decision not to torture saved numerous American lives. I think it is safe to suppose that Americans who are captured are now at greater risk due to the abuses committed at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo.

    We stuck by our principles during the Revolutionary war, the Civil war, both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam. Our country and our freedoms were in much more danger at those times than they are now. If the (supposed) ends did not justify the means back then, when the stakes were even higher, they certainly do not now.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  53. Anthony Bleiweiss

    Definitely not. Using these "advanced methods" shows the rest of the world we have no class and have stuped to the same level as the countries the terrorists came from. If we show class and mercy, other countries may follow suit. Treat others the way you want to be treated

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  54. AJM - Canada

    If everyone starts thinking that anything they do that is in the "best interest" of their country is justified, then they have embraced a terrorist philosophy. Osama and his cohorts believe that what they are doing is justified as well. "Enhanced interrogation" is just another name for barbarism. Ultimately, if torture is wrong, then it is wrong for all countries – no matter what. The U.S. will be judged by the same standards as every other country. What's wrong for Iran and Iraq must be wrong for the U.S. and my own country. President Obama has a pretty impressive moral compass – that's what makes him exceptional. Too many people are moral only as long as it's conventient, and he doesn't seem to be.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  55. J. Lomen

    You "darn" right its o.k. to torture if American lives can be saved. How many families that lost loved ones on September 11th would agree??

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  56. Cynthia Eyler



    Torture does not elicit reliable information. The person being tortured will, ultimately, tell his torturers what he thinks they want to hear.

    Our military leaders wisely opposed the use of torture, understanding that it would make our troops more likely to be tortured if captured.

    And, most of all, it makes us no better than our enemies.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  57. Charles Brobst

    Torture never produces any useful results, a person faced with torture will say anything to avoid pain, and lying is the most basic of human responces. The reason all civilized countries have abandoned torture is that has never worked in all the history of human civilization. Anyone who points to supposed result is lying to us and fooling themselves, presumably to hide suppressed guilt over doing what they know to be wrong.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  58. Hugh ~ Tracy, California

    I'm flabbergasted that Mr. Blair would make conflicting statements saying certain US interrogation techniques are morally wrong in their action, but they are good because they get positive results that make us safer. To justify torture for the common good sounds like something you'd acknowlege researching the history of medieval torture practiced by the inquisition to force confessions of heresy or witchcraft, not from the lips of the Nat'l. Intelligence Director, basically exonerating Michael Hayden, the former head of the CIA!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  59. Steve from NYC

    Walking the ethical tightrope with this issue is difficult. What is and isn't acceptable is really subjective with these techniques. Should it be reasonably determined that the valuable information gained through these techniques was both accurate and otherwise unattainable then yes, it is OK. I don't think anyone is proud of having to engage in 'torture' any more than they're proud of a soldier killing with a gun or a missile killing someone setting up a roadside bomb. These are all aspects of modern warefare that are an ugly reality. The 'torture' described is undeniable in it's ability to make the subject uncomfortable, but in my opinion is acceptable as it doesn't involve execution, mutiliation, or severe injury of the prisoners. It's important that we avoid unnecessary suffering (in all aspects of warfare) and that we're as open as possible with whats happening, however we also don't have to apologize for taking action to defend ourselves. Frankly, it's difficult to equate the treatment of our prisoners (nudity, waterboarding, putting a bug-phobe in an enclosed space with harmless bugs and telling him otherwise?) with the treatment of our enemies prisoners (shot, throats slit, heads decapitated).

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  60. Tony, Houston Texas

    Torture is a very controversial issue, however, when dealing with terrorists and their heinous acts I think that there should be no limit on what we need to do to get the information to defend ourselves. If terrorists are willing to kill themselves and innocent women and children, then they open the door to any tactics we deem necessary.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  61. Sharon Garren

    Isn't there a woman already in prison for participating in torture? Have we forgotten her? The CIA isn't responsible but some soldier is?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  62. Lisa

    I know what airhead "got it"...Saddam Hussein, for starters. He systematically tortured thousands of people and got fantastic results.

    Perhaps we should also emulate his solution to Kurdish dissent by using chemical weapons on American citizens that disagree with government policy.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  63. John N.

    A better question than that one would be "do we live in the 12th century?" – the answer is the same for both.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  64. Jared chase

    If the governemnt took all our guns, it would lower gun violence, but it wont make it right, if they take away free speech it might make us quite, but it wont make it right, reguardless of what results we get, torture is not right!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  65. Richard

    Pouring water on terrorists gets us half of our high value intelligence in the war on terror... and we're not willing to use it??? THAT is a moral outrage!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  66. Airpower

    One man alone waterboarded 200+ times?

    That's not interrogation. That's sadism.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  67. Frank Cape Coral, FL

    Yes , Yes, Oh Yes, let me think... Yes, If it saves an American 's life, LET ME REPEAT MYSELF, YES.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  68. Derrick White

    No it's not ok because it is immoral and un-American.

    I'd ask the further question. "Is it ok for foreign governments to torture American soldiers or American citizens if they feel America is a threat?" You can't have it both ways.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  69. Eric S.

    To DJ Schaeffer – the USA signed onto the Geneva Convention. The USA doens't turure. Period!!!!! Those who do or did should stand trial.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  70. Stacy

    Jack, I don't think this techniques actually work. If someone is being treated harshly or think their life is being threatened, they will say anything to get people off their backs. Who's to say anything these people say is true?

    Yes, they may be capable of, and have done, terrible things, but there's no excuse for treating them in this manner

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  71. Savvas

    I think they should use whatever is needed to get answers out of these terrorists! If it were up to me I'd lock them up and throw away the key!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  72. Jay

    It absolutely makes them OK to use, in the narrow circumstance where enemy status is clear-cut, as appears to have been the case here, and when at war, where the lives of civilians or our soldiers may be at stake.

    Whether "enhanced interrogation" works or not is a question for experts. It seems plain that it does work at least some of the time in some fashion. If we assume, as you propose, that it does work, then experienced interrogators must be able to make the judgment to use it.

    This is not a moral issue as some would have it. It is a clear-cut matter of survival. There are morals and values worth fighting and dying for, but tying our hands in dealing with the enemy isn't one of them. For those who think Obama should aspire to the likes of Lincoln or FDR, review their Presidencies – neither would have hesitated to order such interrogations.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  73. Tim, Clemmons NC

    No it does not. The ends do not justify the means. There is nothing that can justify torture. We have no leg to stand on when we condemn or go after countries that do. The question should be, should we apologize to the families of the Japanese soldiers that this country executed for water boarding our troops? Ask them if it’s okay.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  74. Susan Hamerlynck

    No. Slavery got the work done . . . but it wasn't ok. Neither is torture.

    Idaho Falls, Idaho

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  75. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    So called "enhanced" techniques lower us to the level of the terrorists. I didn't serve my country to allow elected officials to be no better than Nazis or terrorists. It is NEVER ok to use torture to gain information since torture will only end with the person being tortured saying what the torturer wants to hear.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  76. Justin

    That's like saying I owe this guy money. I have two options I could talk to him about it and find a way to pay it off or I could just kill him off and I won't owe anyone. There are other ways of handling this situation.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  77. Mark

    I can read all the respnses now. We'll all ride our big, white horse decrying these interrogation methods. But, then, sometime in the future, when there is another Terrorist attack, everyone will wonder why the government didn't do more to stop it.

    Does everyone really think that being nice to these people, that they will just be nice right back. They will see it as weakness. End of story.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  78. Anthony Bleiweiss Atlanta, GA

    Definitely not. Using these “advanced methods” shows the rest of the world we have no class and have stuped to the same level as the countries the terrorists came from. If we show class and mercy, other countries may follow suit. Treat others the way you want to be treated

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  79. Mark Sellergren

    No, Jack. The issue is in the first abuse of power and the law. Once we abuse it, it is too late, as we cannot claim that benefits after that abuse absolve us of the responsibility to follow the law. The ends do not justify these means.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  80. Ken Margo, NYC

    I'll be honest, I don't care if they torture or kill the people we capture. Whatever it takes to get the info. But since Bush played the religious/moral/all life is precious/law card (At his convenience). You can't do this. This is why the religious right get ripped. When you preach the "high" ground, "I'm better than you" route you are not allowed to make mistakes. It just shows we're all just the same. I hope they convict everyone from Bush on down.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  81. Anne Fitzgerald, Lamoine Maine

    No Jack, it's not ok. Forgetting morality and ideals and what this country is about........................................If you torture someone how do you know they are then telling the truth? Or do they just want the torture to stop?
    I'd tell them almost anything myself. Can't take pain.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  82. larry

    As I recall, the way the question was originally posed was...'if torture would stop an imminent attack would it be ok', not 'if torture taught us about the enemy's organization would it be ok.' Funny how slippery that slope gets.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  83. Chris

    There are some things that yield results and do work, but they are not always the BEST results. Killing someone who annoys you would work to stop that person from annoying you any longer, but hat doesn't mean it needs to be done.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  84. Nancy

    Pulling out someone's fingernails might work. Bunji sticks might work. Breaking fingers or knees might work. Torture is not defined by whether it works or not. Just as the fact that the enemy doesn't wear a uniform allows behavior in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  85. EILEEN.. Austintown, OHIO

    No...I'm sorry if you read our Constitution, the answer has to be "NO".

    Course when you have a "coloring book" President.....what can you expect?

    United States of America has always promised SO MUCH MORE.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  86. Ray Bell

    Absolutely not. If we use these techniques then we cannot fuss when others use the same techniques against our people.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  87. Jim Blevins

    Does the end justify the means? Is a creature human if he looks human but thinks like Satan?

    Jim, Craig, CO

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  88. PT

    We have people who are in legal and ethical trouble telling us it worked, people who have lied to the American public time and time again, and we take their word that torture revealed useful info? There are many scientifically validated studies saying that information gained through physical and psychological abuse is not reliable. There are better ways to get valuable information, but it's not surprising that the DUI/draft-evading Cheney/Bush administration takes the path of thuggery and stupidity. So, no - torturing to obtain information is neither ethical nor is it smart. And don't even get me started on the damage to US credibility that behavior has caused us around the world...

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  89. David Harrar

    While most object to torture, there are times when it may be expedient if lives may be saved. Wasn't Bush ready to shoot down a plane filled with Americans to spare Washington during 911? The President has the daunting responsibility to balance one devasting action for the sake of the greater good. Which of us wouldn't tortore a terrorist to save our family from the risk of annihilation!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  90. Robert


    The critical issue is whether torture is linked to Mind Control. Beta level Mind Control can make anyone believe they were the masterminds of 9/11. This is critical because our CIA can program false testimony to suit its objectives.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  91. Clair Penner

    Cheney has it wrong. Even if we obtained valuable information from the waterboarding doesn't make the torture right. The ends do not justify the means. We are still a country where the rule of law is critical and if we violated the law by the use of "torture" then those techniques shouldn't be used no matter how valuable the intelligence.

    Clair, Chicago, Illinois

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  92. Brad Banks

    If we are a nation that believes that we stand for good, we
    cannot resort to the tactics that were endorsed by the previous
    Administration. I do believe it makes us sound hypocritical
    when we discuss human rights. Stop calling it "enhanced
    interrogation", and call it what it is, torture.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  93. Bob (Illinois)

    NO. Torture is absolutely unacceptable.


    End of debate!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  94. hamza

    if killing somebody secretly would yield you wealth and happiness, would you commit that crime ?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  95. Jonathan

    Imagine if you will that your in Iran and someone accuses you of being a American Spy. Would they use "enhanced interrogation" tatics on you? I dont think "enhanced" would even begin to cover what they would do to you.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  96. Joe

    No, no,no.

    "Having morals" means having them even when they're inconvenient.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  97. Karen P

    Maybe we should turn this question around. If another country decided to use these methods on Americans – 'because it worked' – would we think that was appropriate. It is illegal and against International law for a reason.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  98. Deborah

    No more than lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction did. They should be prosecuted.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  99. Dan

    I think the real question should be: Do we want to give the green light for torture to our captors? Where is the bottom of the rabbit hole when you forego humanity for cruelty. A short term gain does not equal the long term goal...which should be Peace on Earth.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  100. David

    No, it is not okay. That would put all of our fighting forces at risk of being tortured if captured. It is against international law. If we do it so will everyone else. that shows how much they think or care about our servicemen. Wouldn't you expect that the people who broke the law, to be the people who have never served in the U S services. That also includes Bush and Cheney.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  101. Lee In Minnesota

    Torture is torture. What happened to the rules of the Geneva Convention?. Oh right. Cheney is above all laws. He has his own set and special modified constitution. Cheney needs to be sentenced to Guantanamo under his own guidelines. And what about hiring private contractors to do the torturing?? This is really sick stuff and I am embarrassed to be an American under those standards

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  102. Bob from Minnesota

    After 9-11 you bet its OK, no pety for terrorists.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  103. Eleanor

    Using torture tactics at any time just sinks you to the same level as these barbaric killers of 911 or any terrorist faction
    You would think the US would hold it self to a higher esteem !

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  104. Dennis

    Pretty simple question. Ask all the prisoner of war we had including McCain, and ask them if the torture techniques used in Veitnam and all the other wars worked, and did they agree with them.
    This whole thing is a waste, nothings gonna happen and we again waste tax payers money on nothing.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  105. Daniel Lockwood

    For a period of time in our nation's history (under GW), we as a nation, really paid a steep price due to either the ignorance or evil of our leader. We threw out our commitment to the standards of the Geneva Conventions. I believe GW should be held accountable for that. How about "Enhanced Tribunal Techniques" for GW?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  106. Victor

    Jack, regardless whether the torture that was authorized by the Bush Administration worked or not, it is irrevelant. The fact is that Bush, Cheney and their cronies broke the laws of our land and they violated our constitution. DOJ needs to assign a special prosecutor to fully investigate and prosecute these felons.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  107. ray

    no, if one robs a bank, and one is not caught, that does not mean robbing banks is okay!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  108. Mark

    It has no bearing whatsoever. Torture is illegal, immoral, and dishonorable.
    UN Convention against torture:
    "For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. "

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  109. Mark Jensen


    Of course it's not okay! We are a nation wanting to be run by morals as well as by laws. We must not sink to that level. Obama is right in setting a moral tone as our president, and asking the Attorney General to decide and advise on the legal aspects.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  110. Sean Griffin

    Absolutly, These people are not American Citizens. They want to destroy America and everything it stands for, so why do they deserve to be protected by the Constitution. Also they are not POWs they are a buch of thugs who we happen to be fighting.

    San Antonio, Tx

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  111. Scott Reding

    Believe me, if we had another World Trade Center disaster, the very same politicians who are now so busy condemning the Bush White House, the Department of Justice attorneys who approved protocols and the CIA operatives who carried out the waterboarding procedures would be posturing in front of the cameras, screaming and holding hearings demanding to know why more had not done to drag the information needed to prevent that attack out of the Gitmo detainees. They would be insisting that if it were up to them no stone would have gone unturned to protect the American public and guarantee its safety. And most certainly, they would be sanctimoniously condemning the Bush White House in the strongest possible terms for failing to do so.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  112. Mike

    To be honest, if I was being waterboarded 200+ times, I'll tell you whatever you want to hear. This includes WMDs, location of Obama Bin Laden, locations lieutenants and other high ranking officers, tooth fairies, UFOs, the return of Jesus Christ, etc. Sorry, but as far as I can tell, drowning is just no fun, no matter who you are or where you're from.

    Bottom line, the effectiveness of "enhanced" interrogation techniques should not be used because some people happen to THINK that it works. As far as I can tell, we have not achieved any info significant enough in either war to justify torture – people, we're not winning and OBL is doing great.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  113. Liz Johnson

    Is Cheney kidding me! He wants us to believe that the end justifies the means? It's acceptable to waterboard if you get the information you want? What if the reverse happened and Americans prisoners were treated this way by some government trying to get information on the U.S? Would we think it was OK? I doubt it. Torture is not OK and it's goes against everything America stands for. Just admit it.

    Robbinsville, NJ

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  114. gerry from Phila., PA

    Baloney. First of all, the Bush administration broke the law, the law they swore to uphold. Secondly, what does "high value info" mean ?
    A "better understanding of Al Queda"..... that's all they got with
    over 200 torture attempts.........that's laughable ! And a GOP
    attempt to as always, spin reality. I don't believe Anything Dick Cheney says.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  115. Rob

    So, the question is: Do the ends justify the means? Absolutely not. Never did. Never will. It all boils down to ethics, even if our opponents have none. We are AMERICA! We're better than that.

    Denver, CO

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  116. Andrew


    Cheney and co. just don't get it ... of course the end does not justify the means ... by thinking it does, makes US no different from the medieval and autocratic regimes in the world ...

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  117. Sam

    Maybe we could get even more information with bamboo shoots under fingernails, electrodes to the genitals, or heck... let's just revive the use of all the old Medieval torture instruments – whatever gets the job done. Who needs values anyway?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  118. Robert - Woodward, Oklahoma

    Are we, or are we not , a people who believe in the rule of law, in human rights, in the individual dignity of mankind? The behavior of the past administration indicated to the world that we are no better than Cuba, China and Iran. Finally, we are trying to behave like civilized peoples should. It is never okay to torture.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  119. Retired Doctor in Chicago, IL

    No, Jack, it is not OK with me...
    We are a nation of laws and we put ourselves out as a champion of human rights. All of the research to date clearly indicates that torture is the worst of all possible ways to obtain information. We have signed major international treaties promising NOT to use torture against other human beings. The fact is, if we truly are a nation of laws, the people in government must also uphold those laws, especially the US Consititution–something the Bush Administration repeatedly demonstrated it had no respect for whatsoever. I, personally, would like to see those at the highest levels held accountable. If our government commited war crimes, we must prosecute those officials or forever shut up about human rights, democracry and law and order.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  120. TW Walton

    Doesn't matter if it works: the ends don't justify the means in our system of civilized living. We are a government of laws, not a government of men.

    What does torturing someone do to the torturer? What does he do when he goes home to his family?

    Lastly, if you have to waterboard someone 180 times–maybe it doesn't work!!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  121. sam adams

    isn't there a mention in 'inherit the wind' about a steady march to the 16th century?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  122. Lois Bovingdon Camp

    Jack -
    Didn't you say that one of the detainees had water poured on him
    266 times? Poor thing. How many people died on Sept. 11?
    Lois Bovingdon Camp
    Birmingham, Al

    April 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  123. Phil H.

    Hell yes!!! These people want nothing more than to destroy us and our way of life...........Grow up people.........we don't live in the make believe world of Academia.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  124. Bill Elkins

    Let's put the shoe on the other foot. If we were at war with a criminal government who tortured our troops and civilians, what would we do?
    Based on history we'd bring the perpetrators to justice. Oh, let me think. Wasn't there a World War II and the nuerenburg trials?
    The torturing of combatants and innocent civilians is a very black mark on our country and need to be addressed within our justice system.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  125. Hank

    Jack, the same people who deceived the world now say in defense that valuable information was obtained using these harsh interigation techniques [read torture]. What's the saying?... fool me once...

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  126. Gentry

    Hey Jack,
    I don't think it's okay. It has been proven through history, information gotten through "Spanish Inquisition" like tactics fail. That most people to avoid pain of torture will confess to anything and everything. Also, for those people who are in support of these barbaric methods, just remember that. The next time you see some captive American service person being paraded through the streets. Who has obviously beaten and tortured...you get what you give. As a former service member, I am against torture as a means to garner any information or military advantage. If we want our kids to be treated humanely when they're captured we should do the same.

    Army Vet 101st, Desert Shield-Desert Storm

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  127. David - Connecticut

    You are dealing with a a group of hateful, murdering and physco people who do not respond to anything normal. It's about time the United States stood up and did what is best to protect the citizens and by less concerned about how these murdering thugs are treated. Good for the Bush administration for having some balls to do what is right given the circumstances.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  128. Sandy

    Can you believe Hayden?...we have been lied to so much ...I would question any assessment by anyone from the past administration !

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  129. Nancy

    No,because we do not want them to use those techniques on our solider's. They believe as strongly as we do they are right. That's why we have a Geneva convention.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  130. Christine

    If the techniques are barred by treaty or other agreement, or if they are techniques we have identified as torture then calling them "enhanced interrogation techniques" is simply disingenuous. That term is merely a smoke screen to cover abuse of prisoners.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  131. Mike

    These water boarding techniques can really only be effective if there is certain information that we already know of, but need to fill in the holes to truly break or become fully aware of a threat.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  132. Bob Madar

    I suggest we follow the lead of George Washington. During the revolution, he insisted that the Continental Army treat all prisoners with dignity and respect, even captured Hessian mercenaries who routinely killed American soldiers after they had surrendered. There are some things an honorable country simply does not do, no matter what the provocation.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  133. Kevin The K in SEA

    So if cutting of a hand worked, then that would be OK? What about just a pinky finger? Where do you draw the line? Torture should be anathema to any country that dares to call itself civilized or developed. Stooping to the tactics of our enemies does not level the playing field, it lowers our moral standing and makes us less human. Resorting to torture lowers our vision of who we are, and it dilutes our message to the world.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  134. Mike Miller

    Of course not. The ends do not justify the means. Is stealing money OK if you do something good with the money? No. Is murder OK if you are better off the other person is dead? No. This country must hold to its ideals. Our ideals sometimes require us to take the hard path. They sometimes require us to take risks. Is there a chance not torturing could lead to a loss of information, yes. But, torturing means the terrorist have already won. They scared us into giving up what we believe out of fear. We took the easy path and became like them, no better than them.
    We must not let our ideals die.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  135. Patrick

    These tactics are identical to what we use on our own soldiers in training. We use them to simulate torture. It is a simulation because they are not torture. To suggest that anything we are willing to do to our own young men to train them is torture is ridiculous. I bet you don't like spanking either.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  136. Pepe Maldonado

    No it is not ok to use these techniques, simply because they produced information or answers. As was mentioned, we don't know if other, more humane techniques could have yielded the same results. These techniques are and should be considered torture and are part of the reason that the Bush administration gave our country such a poor reputation.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  137. Jon from Tempe

    If was poor and destitute and I killed someone to get their money and the idea worked in that I got the money and I achieved the objective of not being poor and destitute any more would it be considered a rightful act? Even if torture worked it does not make it right. This is coming from the same people who preach their morals on this country by telling us that we should ban abortions because they are immoral. What is wrong with this picture? An abortion "works" in that it achieves the objective of the woman not having a child but in the opinion of the ultra right wing conservatives does that make it right?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  138. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    The interrogation techinigues, or "Water Boarding" that they used did not yield "Osama bin laden", so i would say "No".

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  139. Josh

    Not if people want us to call the United States a Christian nation. Last time I checked, torturing is not of the Bible.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  140. Alex

    I'm usually the last person to question the patriotism of others, but I can't help but feel that those who are bending over backwards to justify the use of torture by the United States of America on ANYONE are fundamentally un-American.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  141. william lawson

    of course it is justified, the idea is to protect america, obama is crazy for letting this stuff out. reminds me of carter and the church investigations which crippled our intelligence. obama is being PURELY political and continues to damage america."

    william lawson
    north myrtle beach,sc

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  142. Galen King


    The heart of the question is do we value life above principles?

    If we do, torture is OK to save lives. If we don't, torture is a unacceptable. In my heart I cannot condone torture. Life is precious, to be sure, but what is life without principles?

    If people die because we held to our principles, I am ok with that. If my family is hurt, if I am hurt, I am ok with that, because to me, principle is the reason we live.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  143. Mohamad

    We're using the same excuses as the Nazis. Have we learned nothing from history? Please read the writings of Thomas Jefferson people! Please read the constitution! Bush has turned the US into a laughing stock and banana republic!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  144. Gary X

    If torture worked on our war enemies, wouldn't it also work for criminal suspects? Wouldn't it also work on our service men and women captured by the enemy?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  145. Kyle

    Of course not! If that is the case, why don't we allow local law enforcement officials to cut off the fingers of murder suspects–I am sure that will also get a lot of information. The issue is not the result, but how we get the result. We are a nation of laws and ideals. If we start allowing officials to break the law and our morals to get 'results', then what separates us from those we fight? Recall, Al Qaeda claims cutting off the heads of their victims is a form of getting the results they seek. Americans must hold fast against sliding our country towards the morals of a 2nd class dictatorship. Vice President Cheney and co should feel embarrassed.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  146. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    You have to be kidding, Jack! So, how do you propose we measure this? A series of double blind studies on university campuses?

    Some victims to be given placebo torture, while other received real torture. Then we measure which group most frequently and expeditiously gave up the truth?

    What about the percent of non-truth? This is lies told just to get the pain to stop? Jack, torture's success is as im-messurable as it is repugnant.

    This was not one of your better questions.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  147. Richard Oehmke

    I could successfully murder my brother and sister and become heir to a substantial fortune. Does that good for me make murder A-O.K.? There are lots of nasty things one can do to reach a good end. Some things are just plain inhumane and wrong and can't be justified.. Hudson Wisconsin

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  148. zane

    My grandfather was a part of a mission in WWII to rescue POWs in Japan. The mistreatment he witnessed left him bitter and hateful towards all asians the rest of his life. It was terribly sad from . I just hope we haven't made things worse by fostering hatred. Still KSM is a piece.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  149. Dave

    I think all relevant information should be declassified so that independent analysts can have a look at it, and so that public debate can be well-informed.

    As I recall, past studies of interrogation techniques, as well as former interrogation specialists who have been interviewed, report that torture is not a reliable method since people will say whatever they think is necessary to make the torture stop.

    It would be interesting to see whether the positive results that were achieved were a result of "harsh" methods or other methods.

    In any case, I would not be proud to represent a country that considered torture acceptable, even should it turn out that such methods are indeed effective.

    To be clear: My disdain extends not only to a government that formally approves such methods, but also to fellow countrymen who make statements like "fight fire with fire" and "what airhead doesn't get that????" It is a question of honor and civilized behavior. When we descend to the same level as our enemies, we grant them moral victory. At that point, we cease to be worthy of defense or support.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  150. Charlie

    As Popeye (Robin Williams) said in the movie, "Wrong is wrong even if it helps you..."

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  151. Scott McDonald, Charlotte NC

    These techniques are absolutely warranted. All one needs to do is look at the still-intact skyline of Los Angeles and think of the lives saved by the thwarting of another 9/11-style attack as a result of the information obtained from these interrogations. But the fact of the matter is, this isn't torture. I'd ask anyone laboring under the question of whether or not it is to consider what we did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and compare that to what KSM did to Daniel Pearl. So we poured some water down the guy's throat. We didn't open him up on YouTube. KSM is lucky we didn't have people like him conducting interrogations, or we might actually have a case here.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  152. William

    Jack, it's not ok. The U.S. does not torture because if our service members were being held and tortured, then we could go after the monsters that hurt them. After the Bush administration's rulings, we now don't have a leg to stand on.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  153. Jesse J

    Hi Jack,

    If America gives the green light to torture, then don't be shocked when it is used on Americans who may be held in unfriendly lands.

    I think the saying is be careful what you ask for becuase you just might get it.

    Vancouver Canada

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  154. Dan Schulte

    No. DeTocqueville said it best: America is great because America is good. When America loses its goodness, it will lose its greatness." Beyond that, it's basic morality: the ends does not justify the means. Yes, I know that we lost loved ones on 9/11; does stooping to their level make it good? What happens when we hurt them to the point of their wanting revenge?

    Marshall Plan, YES. Shock and Awe, NO.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  155. Jim Morgan Sr

    YES They should Be Used It will help keep us safe in the years to come..

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  156. James

    we have to do whatever it takes to protect this country. if these terrorists have information that will keep America safe we should be able to do whatever it takes to get that information out of them if they wont surrender it voluntarily.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  157. John

    Jack, the church used torture during the Medieval period and it found and burned many wtiches. We also did it in Salem Mass. I guess it works. But what if they were inocennent? I guess all tortured people are quilty of something.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  158. Susan/Bel Air, MD

    The end justifies the means....which makes us no better than the terrorists. Bush, Cheney, et. al. should be prosecuted like the war criminals they are. Shame! I guess by Cheney's logic, I should be able to rob a bank, since the results would keep me safer in that I would be able to pay my mortgage and keep my house. He only wants 'results' memos de-classified so he can use the material in his new book. Please, Mr. Holder....move quickly.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  159. Harvey

    Of course it's OK as long as we torture "one of them" and not "one of us" – definitions of them and us would be up to whatever group of "us" is in power at the moment

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  160. Thomas

    Right now there is an Iranian American journalist in Iran who was just convicted of espionage. If one day it is reported that she was the subject of “enhanced” interrogation techniques, and Iran says they gained “valuable information” as a result, what will we be able to say in response?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  161. Kathleen, Missouri

    To compare their treatment to the treatment John McCain recieved is an insult. Of course it was worth it if it saved lives. If they did nothing, and another attack occurred, we would be crying around about why we didn't do more to obtain information.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  162. Phillip

    People will tell you whatever you want to hear, just so long as you stop drowning them.
    I once had a broken watch and it was right 2 times a day, but I didn't go around telling people what a great watch I had. Although it was accurate some of the time, it was worthless because it could not reliably and consistently serve its function.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  163. Fred Bastiat


    Unequivocally yes.

    Those that argue we must hold up our moral values for the sake of suspected terrorists are naive. Our moral values cannot stop a bomb for exploding or prevent planes from flying into buildings anymore wishful thinking.

    San Francisco

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  164. David Corbin

    Immediately after 9/11 no one knew how much time we might have had until another attack. We were circling the wagons and doing "by what ever means necessary", what we had to do protect and defend the nation. This is monday-morning quarterbacking at it's best. By the way, weren't members of congress briefed on all this? Are they to be prosecuted as well?

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  165. RB

    the argument that harsh interrogation was successful at garnering information does not justify its use. Robbery is effective at garnering riches and we don't condone that. Slavery was effective at getting cotton grown, we (now) wouldn't consider that "OK".
    The implication that useful information could have been gained no other way than torture is a strawman.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  166. Carol

    NO! I hope that the soldiers and our CIA haven't buried their morals and human feelings when they swore to protect our nation. Just as a parent MIGHT think that using physical force on our children because maybe it will keep them in their place, both are against the law. Just as I have felt for the past 8 years..I don't want to win if we lose our independance and our rights under the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  167. Evan Eads

    As a matter of morality, torture is certainly an evil. However, as a matter of practicality, it has proven a necessity. Hence, we construct terms such as "necessary evil." Deciding whether or not an action is "OK" is simply a matter of weight merits and failures, advantages and disadvantages. Whenever an "evil" is to the advantage of most, it remains a necessary evil. So, even though we may, officially, find torture repugnant, we will inevitably find it, unofficially, a necessity ... thus "OK."

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  168. Martin

    Absolutely not! We're Americans! We preach to the rest of the world that America is the greatest nation, the most free, the best people etc. We need to assure that we practice what we presch. Just because a tactic may yield results, weneed to take the moral high ground. We can get results another way.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  169. George Humphries

    Liberal pinheads figure it out: When your daughter has been kidnapped, buried with an air tube and has 15 hours to live and you capture the kidnapper, that is not the time to give him a neck-rub and coffee. War is a different paradigm than jay-walking. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  170. kh

    YES! Absolutely.
    Remember ... "worked" means " saved American lives"... !

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  171. Judge

    NO it is not ok to use torture,they did one guy over 130 times in one month,,,what is he going to say that you dont know,,and everone knows the higher ups dont get prosecuted,remember viet nam and mi lie

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  172. Jim H

    On interragation techniques, does anyone remember the saying...
    "If you lower yourself (standards) to anothers... you are no better than they are!"

    I'm as strongly American as the highest, but why does any of our past, present of future leadership feel we are above decent humans. If we lower our standards (human rights) we are no better than animals.

    Jim H

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  173. shirley curtis

    The United States prosecuted people who used the same techniques that are now being deemed illegal. How can we justify those tactics when we once prosecuted those who used them? It is never ok to torture anyone, no matter what information comes from it. It's like saying it's ok to to torture or kill a criminal to make sure that person doesn't do it again. It is also well known that when the enemy knows they will be tortured, they are much less likely to surrender. Enemy soldiers during WW2 surrendered because they said their fathers were treated humanely during WW1.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  174. Eric, MI

    Of course not! But I wouldn't be surprised if that was the rationale of the previous administration.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  175. Dan, Peabody, MA

    If you knew someone who was on Flight 11 (like I did), you wouldn't even be asking this question. How soon we forget !!! Watch the other Jack on 24 and learn.

    April 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |