Mr. Libi recanted the story after being returned to C.I.A. custody in 2004 as the war raged. He was sent back to Libya from American custody in late 2005 or early 2006 and detained there at the Abu Salim prison, where in 2009, at age 46, the former preacher who once ran a training camp for armed militants in Afghanistan apparently died of a suicide. His friends were suspicious of his cause of death.
The dozens of such “ghost prisoners” who were in American custody overseas were just among many of the shameful examples of collusion between my country and the C.I.A.’s rendition program.
How, when it has so readily relied on Egypt to take torture further than its own operatives would or could, can any American administration ever seriously hold our government accountable for its torture against us, the Egyptian people? The answer: It can’t, and it doesn’t. And successive Egyptian governments count on that. It is less likely to do so if Ms. Haspel, whose career is so tainted by torture, is at the helm. Furthermore, though previous United States administrations provided at least lip service to condemning torture in Egypt, President Trump has said that he believes torture “absolutely” works, and on the campaign trail in 2015, he said that he would approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat.”
Despite Mr. Trump’s boast, the choice of Ms. Haspel for promotion is no victory for women. My feminism does not demand that a woman have an equal opportunity to torture, alongside men. Torture is no less wrong because a woman, not a man, carries it out. I do not celebrate the appointment of women to high positions in regimes where cruelty is a favored tool of governance by a patriarchy; if they accept, they are nothing short of foot soldiers of that patriarchy and the violence it has instituted.
My feminism, instead, works to dismantle patriarchy and its violence — whether it is sanctioned by the state, as torture is, or practiced at home, in the form of intimate partner or domestic violence.
I do not subscribe to a feminism that demands perfection or super heroic nobility of women. But I do insist that putting women at the service of patriarchy is no victory for us. These are discussions that will come up again and again as women demand inclusion in institutions that have not been friends to women, such as the military, religious institutions, corporations — and the C.I.A.