Government transparency is important. While interrogation techniques may enhance national security in some instances, leaving voters out of the decision as to how far these techniques will be taken is leaving a huge margin for error. Government institutions don't feel, so even individuals within a system, who may feel differently, cannot exact much change on a micro level. Popular opinion and democratic process should lead the way.
When it comes to major decisions such as interrogation techniques it should be made voteable by citizens of the US. It is a bad thing when courts and law enforcement personnel make their own rules regarding interrogation and the way the interrogation process is set up. We need stricter rules regarding how the law works and who can amend it.
While some might argue that military issues are best solved by people with military experience, since we are all accountable for and subject to the actions of our government and military, I do believe that citizens should be allowed to vote on issues like interrogation techniques.
While I personally do see where enhanced interrogation techniques would be useful, it still should be voted on by the people. After all, this is our country, and the government should not be changing a major part of policy, without a majority vote by the citizens. I think it would pass by a large margin, as it would make it easier to convict and catch criminals.
Our country is based on the principle that the people are in control. This should include everything, even interrogation techniques.
Technically, we can amend the Constitution to prohibit freedom of speech, of course. Such changes do happen through a democratic process, but it is a rigorous one. In that underlying sense, allowing torture always remains a democratic option. But in that sense, and in the more mundane sense of putting torture up to a referendum or Congressional vote, the idea is repugnant. Torture is a terrible way to treat a person under any circumstances, in my view, and is always unjustified. Hypothetical cases aside though, here is the thing about allowing it: Torture expands. When you give a bureaucracy the power to disregard human dignity, professional pressures and fear will make the practice rampant, leading to its infliction on vast numbers of innocents. This has already happened in the American anti-terror struggle. Further, morality aside, questions about interrogation tactics are generally best decided by professionals, not public passions.
In a democratic society what the government does is supposed to be what the people will. Everything they do reflects the moral standing of the entire nation, and in a small way makes each and every individual responsible. So I believe each and every individual should have a say when it comes to doing unpleasant things in their name - such as how much torture to allow.
The US Congress and President should pass laws stating which interrogation tactics are allowed and not allowed. Then, the American voters' preferences on interrogation tactics will be voiced through their representatives. Only tactics passed by Congress and the President and upheld by the courts will be permitted.
A terrorist has a plot to kill people. But if we cannot ask questions without being nice and giving the individual who has already intended to kill if he hasn't already killed, we are killing ourselves with this niceness. Terrorists and "bad guys" will win if we are not willing to ask the difficult questions AND do what is needed to get the full answers. If you ask with a pretty please, you will get spit in the face or a rant on how you, the questioner, are morally decadent - and more innocent people will die. Are you willing to give up the lives of your neighbors because you don't want to risk being a little mean to the would be murderer? And doing so also risks your freedom as these terrorists mean to make the world over in their image. And when they are in charge, they will not have the qualms of potential cruelty you do. They will be cruel.
Let's get real here, there's no such thing as an 'enhanced interrogation technique'. That's just a creative made-up term used by a corrupt and morally bankrupt administration.
We're talking about torture here, pure and simple.
And all the research shows that torture doesn't work. People under duress will say what they think their captors want to hear. The 'ticking time bomb' argument only exists in an episode of '24', not in real life.
More importantly, torture is immoral. Treating our enemies as lesser beings only invites them to return the favor. We cannot claim moral indignation when we stoop to the same methods used by our enemies.
Individual rights are called 'inalienable' for a reason. They do not depend on a majority vote, or on public opinion or consensus. If they did, we would be living in a scary, dystopian world.
In some countries, rights and freedoms do depend on individual whims and votes. Let's hope we don't become one of them.
There are some issues that are critical for the functioning of a free society, and as such, they should not be subject to a popular vote (which can change in fickle circumstances). A ban on torture is essential to elevate a society out of primitive tribalism; allowing torture would undercut the very value of human rights.
The voting populace is too whimsical. Today the majority of voters believe everybody should have basic human rights. Events and opinions after Pearl Harbor and 9-11 show that that belief goes out the window when the populace feels threatened. Despite its flaws, the government should not be encumbered with constant politicking to sway the populace, while having to await a voted decision.
Using advance interrogation techniques or not to use them is definitely a decision that should only be made by the people who implement these techniques as they know how valuable they can be to our homeland security and safety.
There are times when national security outweighs the opinion of the people. When we are dealing with ruthless thugs who would do anything and take any type of measure to harm and to kill US citizens, then we need to take drastic measures in how we protect our own citizens. Sometimes, in my opinion, we need to use types of force that may go beyond the norm of regular techniques to gather information to protect our citizens.
Enhanced interrogation techniques cover a broad variety of techniques, ranging from the mundane to the brutal. Voters are really in no place to say that it is acceptable to use them or not. The US Constitution and the treaties the US has signed should dictate whether or not we can take some measures.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States is not a democracy for all things. The Constitution clearly forbids cruel and unusual punishment. There's no need for the public to decide: it's wrong, period.
Being treated fairly and humanely is a basic human right. It's not something that changes with the breeze or varies based on popular opinion of the day. Enhanced interrogation is a euphemism for torture, which is illegal. People will admit to just about anything, even if they didn't do it, if they are being tortured. The United States will not be respected by other countries in the world if our military tortures prisoners or allows citizens to vote on whether prisoners should be tortured.
The general public has no idea or what is in the best interest of what war times are like, and have no idea what works and what doesn't work in interrogations and therefore, should have no say in this process
Enhanced interrogation is also known as waterboarding, that is - torture. John McCain, a U.S. Senator and war hero vehemently opposes this type of interrogation. I don't know why it's called enhanced interrogation, when it is blatantly torture. Often times, people give the wrong information under torture because they have been through so much trauma. Why give the country a bad image all in the name of security?