Enhanced interrogation techniques are just a fancy way to describe torture. Often seen as a vital component of the war against terrorism, these techniques were primarily employed by the CIA. Other branches of the US Armed Forces and very secret sites around the world would also utilize enhanced interrogation techniques in order to obtain information from high-value prisoners. Numerous courts around the world have ruled that these techniques amount to torture and in some cases have even ordered compensation to those who have been interrogated in such a way.
There are some pros and cons to using enhanced interrogation techniques. Let’s take a look at some of them more in-depth.
It is Possible to Get High-Value Information Quickly
Despite a lot of bravado, everyone eventually talks. What enhanced interrogation techniques do is bring that person to a talking point much sooner. That is because all semblance of comfort is removed from the situation. When there is a bomb that needs to be found for a terrorist attack about to be completed, these techniques allow investigators to move quickly and save lives.
There Are Numerous Ethical Concerns
In 2005, the CIA destroyed tapes that you pick the prisoners under their care being tortured. The justification? That what was being seen was so horrific that it would be devastating to anyone outside of the agency. Not only does the United States have anti-torture statute in place, but they are also assigned member of the UN Convention against Torture.
The Information May Not Be Reliable
When people are in pain, they are willing to say or do anything to make sure that the pain stops. This is why confessions that are obtained by law-enforcement officials are thrown out of court sometimes. When someone is locked up in an interrogation room for several hours at a time and deprived of sleep, some people can become so desperate to and that kind of situation that they’ll say anything so that they can move on with life. If people can give up just by sitting in a room by themselves and being deprived of the bathroom, now imagine what people would be willing to say in there being water boarded, or essentially drowned time and time again.
Fear Becomes a Primary Motivator
Even if there is no pain involved, there is a lot of fear involved in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Loud music, the manipulation of the environment, or just long interrogations that can exceed 20 hours are all designed to control the level of fear within the person who is being questioned. This is why US didn’t classify prisoners as an actual prisoner of war. If they had, then they would have been in violation of the Geneva Convention.
There Were No Safeguards in Place
The problem with absolute power is that it is able to corrupt absolutely. Even when enhanced techniques are authorized and don’t reach the level of torture, the interrogator can still be too persistent and too aggressive in their line of questioning. When they answer to no one and there is no supervision of the interrogation, it becomes their word against the word of the prisoner. In that sort of situation, who is the general public more likely to believe?