A recent NDAA amendment passed in mid-June makes it a lot harder for the CIA to torture–a good step forward. But it’s also worth noting that torture isn’t “beneath us” as Oliver suggests. It’s never been “beneath” the US government to torture people, to wage unjust wars, to unjustly imprison millions of people for non-violent offenses, and so on.
But it’s also not something that’s worked for the CIA. The alternative of rapport-building has been studied and found to be far more effective.
And just in strategic terms, torture is a bad idea because the tortured are likely to hold resentments which may ultimately lead to the very acts the torture was trying to prevent. It also tarnishes America’s image abroad and creates distrust of Americans among foreign populations leading to the kind of blowback Americans suffered on 9/11.
No matter how you slice it, torture needs to stop.
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