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Differences Of Opinion: CIA Interrogations

About Differences of Opinion

Read a sampling of opinions from editorials, columns and blogs about issues of the day.

News that a federal prosecutor will examine whether the CIA broke the law in its interrogations of detainees prompted both support and criticism in the United States and beyond. At the same time, newly released documents allowed a deeper look into past CIA tactics, sparking renewed outcry. Here, a sampling of editorials and commentaries:

Corvallis Gazette Times
Clarifying torture policy long overdue

"Our hunch now is that the prosecutor will be tempted to narrowly define the scope of the investigation, and that the final results will satisfy no one. But ... just maybe, the United States can offer a lesson to the rest of the world about how the rule of law works — even if the lesson itself turns out to be agonizingly slow."

Jim Perskie's Blog at The Press of Atlantic City
On 9/11, the CIA, torture and George Orwell

"The probe is a mistake that will further divide the country. [President Obama's] original position — that such a probe would serve no useful purpose and that it was best to put these incidents of very harsh questioning and even torture behind us — struck the right conciliatory note."

Khaleej Times
Right Step on CIA Abuse But ...

"Of course, none of this is likely to come as a huge shock to the world after what it has witnessed in Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo Bay. ... [All] the US government employees, whether the CIA, FBI or mercenaries like Blackwater, have to be brought under the rule of law, if President Obama wants to see his country's image as the land of the free restored."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Drilling down on torture

"The CIA officers involved may never be prosecuted or convicted: The trail is seven years cold, evidence could be missing and witnesses unreliable. But the people who justified what they were doing are on the lecture circuit and writing books for large advances. There's no justice in that."

The Guardian
The CIA's willing torturers

"[What] has been absent has been the raw detail of the keen individual torturer's own rationale. Now we can see it. How the men set to the task of torturing — released largely from normal constraints — improvised wildly as they constructed their sordid scenarios. And we can see too what happened to individuals. How with the legal constraints on what they could commit so nuanced, so flabbily defined, again and again they would step beyond even what the authors of the programme had deemed to be acceptable."

Kansas City Star's Midwest Voices Blog
CIA interrogation abuse: The list is a little too long
By Matthew Schofield

"While it might be easy to find that these agents operated outside the bounds of what should be acceptable, [it's] much tougher to affix blame properly. Bush is to blame. Cheney is to blame. We're all to blame. We were all in this War on Terror together, and we were all just fine with the idea that whatever was going on was acceptable, for the greater good."

Saudi Gazette
Prosecution of past US crimes

"US behavior on the world stage during the Bush administration was, of course, pathetic in the worst sense of the world. Granted, it was not engaged in a fight with a bunch of angels but behavior such as that engaged in only served to diminish the standing of the US in the eyes of nearly the entire world. There will be many within the US who will be angered by the attorney general's move to prosecute interrogators for what amounts to torture, but such prosecution will go a long way in restoring the moral credibility of the US."

The Washington Post
Following the Torture Trail

"The line between authorized interrogation techniques and those that were not approved seems capricious. Which is worse: Withholding sleep for 11 days or threatening to kill someone's children? Waterboarding or revving a power drill near a naked, hooded detainee? The first were blessed by the lawyers at the Bush Justice Department, who pronounced, incredibly, that they did not constitute torture."