Friday, May 1, 2009

Tortured Reasoning? You Make the Call

Posted By on Fri, May 1, 2009 at 1:40 PM

click to enlarge TortureMuseum.jpg
As a Friday afternoon respite from all the bad economic and pandemic news, what say we lighten things up with a little torture? I invite Pith readers who think that "enhanced interrogation techniques" are okey dokey to weigh in on these four quotations pulled together (h/t Greenwald and Foreign Policy)

First this (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post):
"Some people...believe you never torture. Ever. They are akin to conscientious objectors who will never fight in any war under any circumstances, and for whom we correctly show respect by exempting them from war duty. But we would never make one of them Centcom commander. Private principles are fine, but you don't entrust such a person with the military decisions upon which hinges the safety of the nation."
Then this (Ronald Reagan, May 1988, regarding Convention Against Torture):
"The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
Next this (Convention Against Torture, which Reagan signed):
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture....Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.
And lastly this (Condoleezza Rice, earlier this week):
"The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against torture....By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture."
To those who legitimize the Bush/Cheney approach to detainee treatment, please help us understand how all of this sorts itself in your mind as lawful, logical, and reasonable. And while you're at it, just how far above the law is the American presidency? Thanks for the input. Have a nice weekend.

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