Senate Report Expected to Confirm Torture Ineffective



About a year ago, the United States finally killed Bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the September 11th attacks. It didn’t take long for torture apologists to start claiming that brutal interrogation methods had yielded the information that led to the compound where the Al Qaeda leader had been hiding. At the time, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), said that “to the best of our knowledge…none of [the information] came as a result of harsh interrogation practices.”

The debate over the value of torture as an information-gathering tool has been reawakened in light of a pending Senate Intelligence Committee report on the subject. The report, which is the culmination of a three-year investigation, is widely expected to find that there is little worth in “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the CIA has used on “high-value” prisoners. In particular, Sen. Feinstein and Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) recently reiterated their belief that torture had not led to the information that allowed American forces to locate Bin Laden.

"Waterboarding," an example of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the CIA.

None of this information comes as much of a surprise to those who oppose the use of torture and work for its eradication: It has long been known that torture is immoral and, moreover, ineffective. Jewish values teach that all people are created b’tzelem elohim – in the image of the Divine – and as such must be treated with dignity. While we have the right to protect ourselves and our country, torture does more harm than good: It inflicts deep emotional and physical trauma on its victims and yields little information that allows us to save lives. At best, torture is about little more than inflicting pain for its own sake.

To learn more about the Reform Movement’s perspective on torture, see the Religious Action Center’s resources on “Torture: A Jewish Perspective.”

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

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Noah Baron

About Noah Baron

Noah Baron is a 2011-2012 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. He is from Princeton Junction, NJ, and a graduate of Columbia University.

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