2009 January 22

President Obama Bans Torture


In one of his first acts as president, Barack Obama banned the CIA from using “enhanced interrogation” techniques, which were widely regarded as torture. These techniques, used by CIA interrogators under President George W. Bush in the war on terrorism, included hypothermia, stress positions and waterboarding. Since the U.S. had ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture (October 21, 1994), the use of torture by Americans was illegal. An infamous “torture memo” by members of the Bush administration, dated August 1, 2002, had argued that the techniques used during the years of the Bush administration were not torture.

While civil libertarians applauded Obama’s ban on torture, they were generally disappointed by the fact that he kept in place many of the basic principles and policies of the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. See the critical 2010 ACLU report, “The New Normal” (below).

Obama: By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to improve the effectiveness of human intelligence-gathering, to promote the safe, lawful, and humane treatment [emphasis added] of individuals in United States custody and of United States personnel who are detained in armed conflicts, to ensure compliance with the treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions [emphasis added], and to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows: . . .”

Read Obama’s Executive Order: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=85669

Read the best book on President Obama and the war on terrorism: Charlie Savage, Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency (2015)

Read the 2010 ACLU reporthttps://www.aclu.org/national-security/establishing-new-normal

Learn more about torture in the war on terrorism: Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror (2006)


Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!