The War on Terror

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Terrorists successfully piloted two airplanes into the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 and one into the Pentagon, which resulted in the death of more than 2,700 people (9/11 Commission, 2004: 1f). These attacks were on a scale never before seen and as a result of this, national security measures needed to change. This was the dawn of the worldwide “war on terror” implemented by President George Bush in order to protect the nation from future terrorist attacks (Gordon, 2007: 53). The “war on terror” is unlike any other war the U.S has ever fought. This new enemy does not identify themselves with uniforms, but rather they blend into the civilian population, which makes them almost impossible to pinpoint and their attacks can transpire anywhere and anytime. Consequently this sparked a worldwide debate on whether or not using torture tactics on terrorist suspects was an effective means of gathering accurate information to prevent future attacks. Those against the use of torture raise the topic that information obtained from terrorists is unreliable and misleading. Throughout history, nations and empires have been using torture as an instrument to gain information from prisoners, but how do we know the person being tortured is being truthful? Dating back to the third century A.D., the great Roman Jurist Ulpian recognized that intelligence collected through torture was not dependable since some people are, “so susceptible to pain that they will tell any lie rather than suffer it” (Peters, 1996). These ‘high value targets” that are tortured have been trained to resist torture and know how to twist truthful information into a false lead. Therefore, we must look at every avenue of approach. So how does an interrogator know when i... ... middle of paper ... ...saved lives. According to officials in the Bush Administration the information gathered from the terrorist Abu Zubaydah let to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. The information he provided helped prevent future U.S attacks. The torture and interrogation of al-Qaeda members prevented more than 20 plots against U.S. infrastructure according to Ex-CIA director George Tenet. These targets included, nuclear power plants, dams, bridges, and tunnels (Tenet, 2007). Torture was also responsible for preventing multiple international attacks on American diplomatic facilities in London. Ex-President George Bush writes in his book Decision Points, "Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States."

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