A FEROCIOUS debate over the use of torture to interrogate terrorist suspects has broken out in America.
Some conservatives and members of the administration of the former president George Bush have used the death of Osama bin Laden to justify the use of waterboarding and other so-called ''harsh interrogation'' practices from 2002 to 2006. But critics and current officials have said there is little evidence they produced any single vital breakthrough that led to bin Laden.
The website Keep America Safe, which was set up by Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice-president Dick Cheney, said such techniques had helped lead to bin Laden's death and obliquely criticised their cessation. ''We must continue to provide our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals all the tools they need,'' it said.
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Critics of torture responded that the worst of the mistreatment in the CIA-run system of ''black prisons'' had been stopped by 2006 and that it took five more years to find bin Laden. They said the key breakthroughs stemmed from old-fashioned surveillance and intelligence techniques, cyber-snooping or standard interrogations.
The Deputy National Security Adviser, John Brennan, was asked if waterboarding had helped catch bin Laden. ''Not to my knowledge,'' he replied. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is head of the Senate intelligence committee, told Time that there was no such evidence.
Geneve Mantri, of Amnesty International USA, said the hunt for bin Laden had been long and involved many steps and no definitive breakthroughs had occurred during the Bush years when torture was used.
As more details emerge of how Kuwaiti was found and traced, it seems to have been old-fashioned stakeouts combined with the most powerful contemporary communications intercept technology that tracked down the crucial courier.
One report said Kuwaiti made a phone call last year that gave away his location. He was subsequently spotted in Peshawar by local agents working for the CIA who noted his car's numberplate. He eventually led the CIA to the house in Abbottabad. Guardian News & Media
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The world agreed that torture was WRONG in the Geneva Accords.
At one point GWB said that the Geneva Convention would be followed when dealing with anyone we captured. But would the Geneva Convention be in effect otherwise since we are not legally at war in that Congress has not declared war?
The so-called war on terror has put us in an odd situation. Constitutionally we are not at war. So we should we legally be treating the war as a normal law-enforcment operation? If so, do the people we capture have rights under the U.S. Constitution if they are not U.S. Citizens?