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Press release: Debatepedia compiles all pros and cons on enhanced interrogations

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Debatepedia compiles all pros and cons on enhanced interrogations

Summary: Debatepedia completed on April 29th, 2009 the world’s most comprehensive break-down of all the pro and con arguments and quotations in the major public debate surrounding enhanced interrogation techniques.

Washington, DC - April 29th, 2009 – Debatepedia, a wiki encyclopedia of pros and cons and a project of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), completed the world’s most comprehensive article on the pros and cons of enhanced interrogation techniques. The article includes nearly 50 pro and con arguments and quotations from nearly one hundred different major sources in the debate. And yet, in the true spirit of a wiki, the article remains unfinished, with the potential to include and document even more of the arguments and quotations that have been made in this major, global public debate. Nevertheless, the article is the most comprehensive available, outlining the most important arguments made in the key editorials, opinion pieces, speeches, statements, interviews, journals and books surrounding the topic. And, it does so within Debatepedia’s famous and innovative pro/con structure, which is a simple pro/con splitscreen divided up by sub-debate questions and sections. In the case of enhanced interrogations, the larger question is obviously whether the program was justified, while the sub-debates are driven by smaller, more chewable questions (an approach that utilizes the Socratic method of yes/no question asking). This ensures that arguments and counter-arguments are seen sign-by side, maximizing the ability of citizens to “weigh” them and deliberate. For this debate, these sub-debate questions and sections include:

Are enhanced interrogation techniques a valuable way of obtaining intelligence, fighting terrorism, and upholding national security? Are traditional techniques, including approaches that attempt to win the trust of prisoners, more effective? Does this matter, or should such considerations of efficacy be subordinate to considerations of legality and morality? Do enhanced methods amount to torture under domestic and international law? Do they inflict "severe pain and suffering", and possibly long-term physical and emotional damage? Even if these methods are not considered torture, are they "cruel, inhumane, and degrading", possibly making them illegal under international and domestic law? Are all coercive interrogation techniques morally abhorrent? Acknowledging that enhanced interrogations usually take place in secrecy and in secret prisons, are these prisons morally abhorrent and illegal? Do "enhanced interrogation methods" send the wrong message to the world? Do they worsen terrorism by increasing anti-Americanism? What are the pros and cons of each individual "enhanced technique"? What is the balance of pros and cons? Are enhanced interrogation techniques justified?

As America moves forward in judging the Bush Administrations past use of these techniques, whether to launch investigations and so-called "truth commissions", and whether to prosecute those that ordered their implementation, it is as important as ever to understand all the pros and cons involved in the debate. Without such an understanding, sub-optimal decisions may be made in moving America's interrogation programs forward. Debatepedia is proud to aid in this process and to live up to its mission “to clarify public debates and improve decision-making globally."

Related links:

Contacts us:

  • Brooks Lindsay, Founder of Debatepedia.
  • 3731 E Prospect. Seattle WA, 98112.
  • brooks[at]debatepedia[dot]com.
  • 206 406 7558.
  • Twitter: brookslindsay, debatepedia.


  • Debate
  • Pros and cons
  • enhanced interrogation techniques
  • harsh interrogations
  • American national security
  • terrorism
  • War on Terror
  • human rights
  • international law
  • prisoners
  • detainee treatment

Press release was published in the following links

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