An important reason that fuels radicalism: Guantanamo
The comprehensively revised form of a CIA report was published in early 2015. The report attracted great attention across the world. While it is a known fact that the U.S. inflicted severe torture on prisoners detained on grounds of suspicion, particularly after September 11, this report documented torture.
The world already knew more or less how intelligence activities worked in the U.S. after September 11 through pictures from the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison, the techniques of persecution emerging from Guantanamo and witness statements and accounts from released detainees. Torture is a practice that was used even before September 11 in the U.S., but the whole world saw in detail in this report what new methods of torture were invented and what funds were appropriated to pay the experts to implement these techniques. So what did the years of torture actually benefit the U.S. or the free world?
We can easily answer that question in the words "nothing at all." U.S. Senator Harry Reid admits that torture achieved nothing other than giving the U.S. a bad name. Contrary to what some Republicans maintain, researchers have confirmed – following an examination of a staggering six million pages of CIA documents – that the agency acquired no vital information at all.
It is a well-known fact that it is next to impossible to obtain real-time or accurate information about radical terror organizations from its leaders or members. Terrorists in possession of such information will either shoot it out with the security forces, military or police or else have themselves killed or commit suicide if they are about to be captured. That has happened time and time again. However, examination of the profiles of people captured and imprisoned by the U.S. shows that the majority were put under arrest without resistance. These people are imprisoned without trying to harm themselves or the people around them, and the information acquired as a result is admitted to be outlandish and intended solely to put an end to the torture. Therefore, this historic lesson once again shows that terrorists in possession of information that might be elicited through torture cannot be captured alive.
Another point we need to concentrate on is the values which the U.S. fights to protect, and the place of torture among those values. The U.S. wants its own people to be free, not afraid of attack, and to build a country in which its own traditional values are preserved in peace and tranquillity, and it spends trillions of dollars to that end and knowingly loses thousands of young lives on the battlefield. The sole aim is to stand up for American values and defy any threats to them.
As we all know, although the U.S. is governed by a secular Constitution, it describes itself as a Christian society and it is much more conservative than Europe. Does not the Bible, the holy scripture of that conservative community, command love, compassion, forgiveness and unity? What Christian could support the idea that a person whose having committed any crime merits being savagely tortured to death? What Christian could be pleased by the innocent lives lost for that reason? If the U.S. wishes to stand up for its values, it has to remain true to those values when times get tough. Speaking in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, Democratic Party Senator for California, also admitted that torture was a stain on American values.
Torture is not a means of combat, but a culture of cruelty. Information gathered through torture during 12 years of war has not helped eliminate or even weaken such terror groups as al-Qaeda or the Taliban. On the contrary, terror organizations have grown even stronger in the face of violence, savagery and cruelty, have spread across even more parts of the world and have become even more of a threat by setting up new groups. The U.S. attacks have led to the deaths of scores of civilians, and instead of fighting the causes that gave rise to al-Qaeda through an intellectual campaign, its seeking to eliminate by military means those people influenced by those causes has led to a widening of the terror organization's sphere of activity by encouraging other sub-groups to join it.
Responding to a destructive action with an even more destructive method cannot prevent a repetition of that action. Violence will always lead to more violence, and bloodshed to further bloodshed. Therefore, resorting to even more radical techniques in the fight against radical terror will simply result in a vicious circle that confirms the claims of those terror organizations and strengthens their base. That will mean opening the door to further unending conflicts. We need to return to a foundation of common affection and love if future generations are to live in a humane climate where human rights are respected.