The Obama administration’s decision to release the torture memos has created a fury of discussion over whether or not the release of the memos was proper. By admitting to violating both national and international law in the use and practice of torture, has the United States government’s goal of greater transparency allowed us to open up dialogue and reconstruct our trust with other state actors, or has the release of the memos created more anger in the international community over U.S. actions that were carried out during the Bush administration? The Minaret asked University of Tampa students for their opinions.

Some students feel Obama’s release of the memos was beneficial. ‘It’s really great that the United States is holding itself accountable. It gives our democracy legitimacy. The United States is part of the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions and is a host for the practice of Habeas corpus, so I think it is good to hold ourselves accountable. I think that everybody should download them at the ACLU website and read what the CIA has been doing in the name of the United States government.’

‘I feel it was the right move to release the memos, it shows the American people what we have been doing. I also think we should release information gained so we can evaluate whether or not this is a practice we should be keeping,’ senior Charlie Connally said.

However, others feel this issue is not a big deal.

‘I don’t think the torture memos really affect our activities in any way,’ said senior Anthony Procaccio. ‘It is really just confirming what everybody knew or suspected or believed and if anything it raises our reputation a little bit by admitting to past wrongdoings and it will probably help with any diplomatic efforts we need to put forward in the future.’

‘The release of the memos has no bearing on national security whatsoever,’ said senior Aaron Rizzo. ‘This is common knowledge out in the world. All this does now is build trust between the United States and other countries, and between the United States and its citizens. Furthermore, any of the tactics used in the interrogations do not apply. It’s not like we are giving them new tactics to use, these are tactics that have always been used.’

Chris Persaud, a UT senior, said releasing the torture memos was a bad idea. ‘By doing this we just cast shadows on it, vindicating what the Arab world was saying and it gives them credit from us and cast a black shadow on us. It basically told them our playbook.’

Persaud added he doesn’t believe the U.S. was practicing torture, but rather ‘harsh interrogation.’ ‘If the enemy knows what you are going to do, they are going to be able to train and adapt. Knowing that you are not going to kill them, ruins the effect of this kind of interrogation. We are putting handcuffs on the CIA so now all they can do is ask what the U.S. army field manual states,”What is your name, rank, and do you want a cup of coffee?’

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