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Tough Interrogation of Terror Suspects is Necessary

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Is tough interrogation of terror suspects necessary?  Proponents argue that when traditional techniques fail, interrogators must have the necessary tools to prevent future attacks and save innocent lives – regardless of whether their practices are palatable to the American public. Others cite the potential for false information, reciprocation by our enemies, and moral responsibility as reason to end enhanced interrogations once and for all. 

The Debaters

For the motion

Rick Francona

Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel

Rick served with the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. His tours of duty include Iraq... Read More

Heather Mac Donald

John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to City Journal

A non-practicing lawyer, Mac Donald has clerked for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.... Read More

David Rivkin

Partner in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler LLP, a Visiting Fellow at the Nixon Center, and a Contributing Editor of the National Review and National Interest

David specializes in regulatory and litigation work, with a particular emphasis on constitutional, international law and public policy issues. Before... Read More

Against the motion

Jack Cloonan

25-year Veteran of the FBI and President of Clayton Consultants

Cloonan is an internationally respected security expert. Since retiring from the FBI, where he received commendations and awards for counterterrorism... Read More

John Hutson

Retired Rear Admiral, Resident and Dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center

Huston served as the Navy's judge advocate general from 1997 to 2000. He currently serves as the president and dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center... Read More

Darius Rejali

Professor of Political science and chair of the political science department at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon

Darius is internationally recognized as an expert on government torture and interrogation. He is a 2003 Carnegie Scholar and the author of Torture... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • When traditional techniques do not work, American interrogators must be granted additional means to prevent America’s enemies from waging war and killing innocents.
  • Harsh interrogation tactics have precedence in history and in modern warfare; America should not adhere to restrictive prisoner treatment standards when there is no reciprocity abroad.
  • America’s enemies are not entitled the protections afforded to its citizens.
Against The Motion
  • Torture of even the most dangerous prisoners undermines American values both at home and abroad.
  • Torture inevitably leads to faulty information and corrupt intelligence that compromises legitimate American efforts and puts troops in harm’s way.
  • American use of harsh interrogation techniques encourages its enemies to engage in similar, or more inhumane, tactics on American prisoners.

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