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CIA Director Gina Haspel Breaking a Glass Ceiling Is Not a Win for Women


Gina Haspel, the brand new director of the CIA, is the primary girl to carry the place. However her appointment isn’t any feminist victory. Haspel oversaw the torture of prisoners held in Thailand — males who had been afforded no due course of rights and had been held in secret whereas they had been brutalized — after which ordered that the videotapes of the torture be destroyed. In a sane society, Haspel can be in jail. In ours, she’s been elevated to the very best reaches of presidency.

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President Donald Trump is already touting this as a achieve for girls. And sure, as a basic rule, it is necessary to have girls occupying positions of energy. That is true even when the ladies aren’t feminists — we do not anticipate each highly effective man to carry feminist values (though I want we might); girls should not be held to a better normal.

However that does not imply that girls must be held to no requirements. Ladies, like males, will be merciless, dishonest, violent, and law-breaking. Ladies, too, can interact in acts so egregious that they develop into unfit for public workplace (and even deserving of felony punishment).

Ladies, like males, will be merciless, dishonest, violent, and law-breaking.

Here’s what Gina Haspel did: She was accountable for a “black web site” operated by the CIA in Thailand, the place detainees had been stored in secret and brutally tortured in one of many darkest intervals of American historical past. They had been waterboarded and abused till they practically bodily collapsed. Haspel then ordered the destruction of videotapes of the torture in an effort to cowl it up.

Haspel was nonetheless capable of develop her profession on the CIA, regardless of her involvement in among the worst of American horrors. She served as chief of employees to CIA Counterterrorism Heart chief Jose Rodriguez, the place she had additional involvement within the CIA’s packages to seize and detain individuals with out providing them due course of rights, and infrequently torturing them. In accordance with Human Rights Watch, “As a part of that program, the CIA forcibly disappeared individuals, despatched them to be tortured in different nations, and operated secret prisons the place detainees had been subjected to beatings, painful “stress positions,” excessive sleep deprivation and chilly temperatures, confinement in coffins, waterboarding, and anal rape or what the CIA known as “rectal feeding” – all of which violated US and worldwide legal guidelines prohibiting torture in addition to merciless, inhuman, and degrading therapy.”

This isn’t an individual who must be trusted to run an American intelligence company. She has ceded any declare she might must moderately moral decision-making or private morality. The CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program is a black spot on our nation that now we have nonetheless not totally atoned for. Elevating the architects of it’s an abhorrent dereliction of the duties of our president, and turns our nation into a world embarrassment.

A person or a lady with Haspel’s historical past can be an equally egregious selection for this place.

That Haspel is a lady would not actually matter right here. Shattering class ceilings is nice, and I’d like to see extra girls — together with conservative girls and girls with whom I profoundly disagree — in each stage of presidency and throughout skilled spheres. Equality and illustration does matter; it normalizes feminine energy and authority, and little by little builds a world through which gender issues just a little bit much less. That is factor; it is a good factor even when among the girls ascending aren’t doing sufficient (and even something in any respect) to present different girls a hand up. Though I want they’d be, not each highly effective girl needs to be a spokeswoman for and helper of girls all over the place. Equality is efficacious in and of itself.

However that does not imply that after we see individuals whose earlier choices ought to disqualify them for public workplace ascending the ranks, we must always cheer simply because they’re the primary girl to take action. If Haspel had been a person, she can be simply as horrible a decide for CIA director. Feminists will little doubt be labeled hypocrites for refusing to rejoice Haspel’s new function — aren’t we in favor of girls in energy?

Sure, we’re. However we’re in favor of equality between ladies and men. And a person or a lady with Haspel’s historical past can be an equally egregious selection for this place, and equally worthy of disdain.

Jill Filipovic is the writer of The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. Observe her on Twitter.

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