As rampant turnover at the White House continues, more controversy surrounds new Trump nominees. In this case, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, is being nominated for secretary of state after Rex Tillerson’s firing over Twitter.
Pompeo’s replacement nominee is Gina Haspel, who is looking to be the first female director of the CIA.
On Feb. 22, ProPublica published a story that accused the then-deputy director of the CIA of being involved in the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was held at a secret “black site” prison in Thailand in 2002.
The story claimed that Haspel was the chief of base at the black site overseeing the waterboarding, but this turned out to be untrue. ProPublica has since retracted their reporting of that information.
ProPublica corrected itself on March 15 after Haspel was raked over the coals by the New York Times, labeling her “Queen of Torture,” and Sen. Rand Paul vowed to block her nomination without considering the factual evidence of the story.
However, this leads to the broader controversy of torture, the Geneva Convention and what means are necessary to preserve the safety and security of the homeland and its citizens.
One’s opinion of torture depends on, to a large extent, how one views human life and sanctity, and whether one thinks torture is necessary.
Along with two-thirds of Americans, according to Reuters/Ipsos, I support the use of torture, to an extent, against terrorists to preserve the safety and security of the citizens of the United States.
We have seen torture work. In March 2003, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan. After being waterboarded 183 times, Mohammed confessed to the 1993 WTC bombing, the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, plots targeting the New York Stock Exchange, plans to attack “many” Thailand nightclubs and 27 other despicable past crimes and future plans.
Whether or not I agree with everything the Geneva Convention holds does not dismiss it as law.
So, here is what the Geneva Convention actually is: a set of laws designed to protect citizens, POWs, the wounded and the sick. There are certain combatants protected under the Geneva Convention and its clauses and immunities.
Article 4 outlines these protected combatants, such as “members of regular armed forces” and inhabitants of a non-occupied territory who wish to take up arms and defend their homes.
In short, it is designed to keep war identifiable vis-à-vis soldier insignia. Essentially, a soldier must be identifiable so that innocent citizens aren’t caught in the crosshairs.
Therefore, the Geneva Convention does not protect a combatant who has no insignia, who identifies as a citizen with the intention to disguise his attack. For example, the Pulse nightclub shooter.
If torture is necessary to prevent these people and their associates from attacking innocent civilians in the future, I say open GITMO’s doors wide and let the safety and security of my friends, family and fellow citizens be preserved over the desires of the ones who wish to do us harm.
Reagan Meredith is a sophomore political science major from Monroe, Louisiana.