Stress and Duress

“Deep inside the forbidden zone at the U.S.-occupied Bagram air base in Afghanistan sits a cluster of metal shipping containers protected by a triple-layer of concertina wire. The containers hold the most valuable prizes in the war on terrorism – captured al Qaeda operatives and Taliban commanders…”

Post 9/11 was a scary time for America because it was a time where many difficult decisions had to be made on how to react to the terrorism.  As the U.S. military began to make moves in response to the attack, the government started to become more secretive of their actions.  Dana Priest, a journalist for The Washington Post, was one of the first to delve into the exposure of the Stress and Duress interrogations tactics the U.S. was using on the captured enemies.  She goes on to explain how difficult writing about the terrorism because sources were not allowed to give up intel due to the secrecy of the government.  Priest had a small window to act, but through months of gaining intel through conversations and small details, often assumed before proven true, she released an article describing the controversial interrogation techniques of the military.  Her article, published on December 26, 2002, revealed how the military was getting the captured enemies, which included descriptions such as “painful positions”, “deprived of sleep” and “kneeling for hours.” This was so significant to Priest because she was it as a means of portraying who we were as a country at the time- our response to the terrorism was going to show Americans if we were going to be the bigger country or react harshly due to negative emotions.  The more that was revealed about “stress and duress” tactics, the more Americans began to understand the rules the government was abiding by in order to gain intel, which were none.  Although Priest’s article took months to write, it was the beginning to understanding how the government was handling the war and how many secrets they were trying to hide from the world to maintain a clean reputation.



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