General Davis is correct: The question of torture doesn't even merit debate in a civilized society. Universally, torture is a violation of person's humanity, and teleologically, a society's willingness to resort to torture presents a greater harm than any utility. How can we simultaneously torture other human beings and claim moral superiority over our enemies?
In addition to being ethically indefensible, the policy of torture and illegal detainment impedes the "War on Terror" and exposes Americans to even greater dangers. As international opposition to American policies indicates, few nations will support a government that endorses torture. Bush's previous unilateral decisions strained most of our alliances; his decision to reject the Geneva Conventions and detain foreign nationals indefinitely will further alienate them. Statements by officials in the U.N., U.K. and even Canada all condemn U.S. policy. How can we expect allies to help us when we torture their citizens? Moreover, illegal enterprises such as the prisons in Guantanamo Bay fuel hatred in nations already hostile to the U.S., and validate claims by bin Laden and others that the U.S. is another immoral empire to be resisted. Finally, what good has torture done us? FBI agents who have witnessed the sessions first-hand maintain that useful intelligence could be readily acquired through traditional, non-coercive interrogations. Incidents like the Spanish Inquisition have shown that torture yields unreliable information.
As the government's tactics in the "War on Terror" become known, outrage over its actions grows.
As a university, we should be at the forefront of this debate. I encourage everyone to research the issue and then act on it. To the extent that we have failed to act thus far, we each bear responsibility for what has been done. Let us now accept this responsibility and work to enforce adequate standards of human dignity.