The CIA & Torture: The War on Terror Became the War of Terror

by Rick Love

In the fall of 2007 I facilitated a discussion of evangelicals about torture at a conference in Washington DC. This marked my transition into peacemaking. It also led to me to join Evangelicals for Human Rights – a group focused on speaking out against torture.

Because of this, I was happy when the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report came out this week and exposed the brutal and unfruitful interrogation tactics of the CIA. I understand the good intentions of the CIA and am grateful that our government works overtime to protect us from terrorist attacks. But torture is illegal, ineffective, and immoral.

The CIA used evil tactics in their attempt to defeat evil. So the war on terror became the war of terror. In doing so, the United States lost any high moral ground that we might have had. We also lost credibility with the Muslim community – a key resource to help us topple terrorism.

Scripture teaches that the role of the government is to praise what is good and punish what is evil (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:13-14). So the U.S. government needs to be held accountable for this evil. As the Evangelical Declaration Against Torture affirms, we need to protect human rights in the age of terror.

So how can we protect human rights and avert future terrorist attacks? My friend Jennifer Bryson has written what I believe is the best summary of these issues. Jennifer earned a Ph.D. in Islamics at Yale University, serves on the board of Peace Catalyst International, and was an interrogator at Guantanamo Bay.

The issues related to torture and interrogation cannot be grasped with a few sound bites. So get a cup of coffee and take the time to read what an expert says.


(As we continue to work to promote human rights like these and other issues related to peacemaking, we value your support. Would you consider a donation to our Waging Peace Fund before December 31?)