Torture amendment defeated

I have one major problem with America: its double standards. America tends to name and shame other countries, when it should be looking at its own domestic policies. Granted, America tends to not take measures to the extreme that some countries do- for example, some countries make being gay punishable by prison time or death. Whereas, in America gays are not condemned to prison time or death, but they are denied the right to marry, and they still face discrimination in many aspects of life.

That is one example of how America scrutinizes other countries, when they should look within and see that America itself implements similar policies, like those pertaining to torture.

America shames those who use torture as a technique to get prisoners to speak. Only, America uses torture, like water boarding, to get prisoners to speak.

Luckily, according to Amnesty International, an amendment that would essentially “open the doors to enhanced torture techniques” was defeated. The amendment was suggested by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

The amendment would have eroded the Detainee Treatment Act, which was passed in 2005, enabled interrogators to evade established protocols that ensured awful interrogations, and would have required a secret annex to the Army’s interrogation manual, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.The DTA “prohibited the military from using interrogation techniques not allowed in the Army Field Manual.”

While this amendment was defeated, the fight to end torture in America is far from over. There is still virtually no accountability for torture as detainees are detained for indefinite periods of time without a trial. If they are given a trial, it is unfair.

All this is in the name of national security.

And while I understand this, I simply cannot understand how other countries are supposed to comply with international law pertaining to torture when America- the country that other nations look towards to set the standards- is not even complying. The answer, they will not comply. Why? Because America is not. If America is not complying, I feel, it gives the “go ahead” for others not to.

So if America wants to seriously stop torture in other countries, they must first look at themselves and take accountability in their role in perpetuating torture.




About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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One Response to Torture amendment defeated

  1. Pingback: breezespeaks | The Awful Truth « Ye Olde Soapbox

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