Torture and manhood

In the news this morning, it seems that

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday” about a Senate Intelligence Committee report which criticizes the CIA [torture] program as excessive and ineffective at fighting terrorism, [former CIA Director Michael] Hayden said [Senator Dianne] Feinstein “wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.”

“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don’t think it leads you to an objective report,” Hayden said.[1]


Oh, my. The accusation against women that they are “too ’emotional'” is classic male chauvinism. It is also a hell of a way to burn one’s bridges with a chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been a very good friend to the intelligence agencies indeed.[2]

More profoundly, Hayden effectively suggests that it is ‘manly’ to torture. Really? We’ve long known that torture is a very good way to get subjects to tell an interrogator what they think s/he wants to hear.[3] Certainly by the time I was in my Master’s program, I understood that torture is actually a tactic of intimidation against communities rather than one aimed at eliciting usable information from a subject.

This is a pretty lousy way of establishing one’s manhood, and when it comes to losing perspective, in this case, I would suggest that it is someone other than the senator who has lost perspective.

  1. [1]Emily Swanson, “Michael Hayden Says Dianne Feinstein Too ‘Emotional’ To Be Objective On Intelligence Report,” Huffington Post, April 6, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/06/feinstein-cia-report_n_5100652.html
  2. [2]Evan Halper, “Dianne Feinstein emerges as defender of spy agencies,” Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2014, http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-adv-feinstein-profile-20140119,0,5878798.story; Greg Miller, “Democrat Dianne Feinstein proves an obstacle to Obama’s push for changes at spy agencies,” Washington Post, January 25, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/democrat-dianne-feinstein-proves-an-obstacle-to-obamas-push-for-changes-at-spy-agencies/2014/01/25/34f61118-8532-11e3-9dd4-e7278db80d86_story.html
  3. [3]Washington’s Blog, “Top Interrogation Experts Agree: Torture Doesn’t Work,” April 23, 2009, http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2009/04/top-interrogation-experts-say-torture.html

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