I don’t know… maybe it’s me. I find it offensive that someone would say, as Liz Cheney did, that the torture program was done carefully and responsibly. What? That may not be the craziest mumbo-jumbo that’s ever been spoken, but it has to be close. As far as I know, there are no exceptions in law for being “careful.” When you break the law, you’ve broken the law.
If you’ve noticed, the defense of torture has taken three separate avenues. Republicans have argued that torture helped save the country because it got “actionable” intelligence. Others have argued that in the hysteria of the immediate post-9/11 period, the CIA, the Defense Department and others in the Bush administration were under enormous pressure to stop the next attack… by any means necessary. Finally, conservatives have argued that the law was never broken and that this is simply partisan policy differences. No one should be prosecuted for differences in policy.
This is all horse hockey. Torture statutes are very simple. They can be understood by anyone who can read English.
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.
Waterboarding, “walling” and stress positions are all clearly torture. No exception should be made for having a doctor in the room. (I question whether that doctor should have his/her license removed since this is a clear violation of every ethics code that I know.) There is no exception for protecting the subject’s neck to prevent him from breaking his neck as you throw him against the wall. This whole torture debate is simply crazy. What we did was wrong. Those who did it, those who sanctioned it and those who authorized it need to be sentenced and jailed. I understand there’s an open cells in Guantánamo.
Crooks and Liars has more.