Strong views on CIA coercive interrogation techniques - 699 responses

Dec 10, 2014

On Tuesday, December 9, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA's use of "brutal interrogation techniques", which they concluded had violated both U.S. law and international treaties. Both of New Hampshire's U.S. Senators, Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, agreed that torture is "at odds with our country's principles." On December 10, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) posed a question to Facebook members, asking whether they agreed with the Senators, or whether they believed the CIA's use of these coercive interrogation tactics ultimately helped the U.S. after 9/11.

The opinions expressed by posters were passionate on both sides of this debate, but a large majority of direct commenters – 72% - held that the CIA practices helped more than they hurt. The remaining 28% remained opposed to the use of such techniques. Thirty-six percent of respondents opted not to answer the question, instead addressing their comments to broader issues. In total, the LFDA received 193 specific comments and 312 concurrences for a total of 505 citizen responses.

Those supporting the CIA's actions argued that extreme measures were justified. "We need to do whatever it takes to get info to save American lives," one poster said. Other commenters pointed out that terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda condoned far more brutal practices against American citizens. "If others don't play by the 'rules' then why should we?" another respondent asked.

Opponents of extreme interrogation tactics held that no end justified means involving the abuse of human rights. "No one should be defending what was done," one commenter asserted. Others argued that U.S. use of torture fueled recruitment for terrorist organization and compromised America's moral reputation. "The US has held soft power and ethical power in addition to military power, and we should not discard it so easily."

Many of those choosing to direct their comments to broader issues expressed criticism of the Senate Intelligence Committee for releasing the report in the first place. "Some military and US CIA responses should remain colvert [sic] and not made mainstream news."

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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