Since 9/11, the United States has been engaged in a vague, open-ended “war” against terror. One of the most controversial aspects of that war has been the use of torture, especially on the part of the U.S. military. Military torture is an ancient practice not just used by the United States. International human rights organizations have condemned the practice, as the information gleaned from torture is often suspect, as an individual will frequently confess to anything in order to make the torture stop.
Military torture has been a notorious practice in nations run under brutal dictatorships. Human rights abuses run rampant in nations where the military is allowed to detain, and then subject individuals to physical, mental and emotional abuse. Photographs from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison revealed that the United States military was using torture.
The United States military has been accused of subjecting detained individuals in both Afghanistan and Iraq to torture and abuse, including beatings, sexual assaults, and sleep deprivations. These “enhanced interrogation techniques” were promoted by the Bush Administration and the CIA. Most notorious was the technique of waterboarding. Top lawyers for the U.S. military are said to have questioned the legality of such techniques, as they violate the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners. Administration officials countered that detainees of al-Qaida were not military prisoners, but rather unlawful combatants.